One night at a dinner party, it was suggested that artist Chris Harris draw a portrait of someone at the table.
Using a black Sharpie from someone’s handbag and square-shaped paper napkins from the restaurant, Chris took to the task without hesitation.
As soon as one portrait was complete and shown off, others at the table couldn’t wait to be next in the queue. Chris completed six portraits in mere minutes. The only portrait that was missing was one of Chris himself.
In a stroke of genius, dinner guest Mike (Chris’ brother) suggested that Chris create a self-portrait by using a photo taken on a mobile. In the rather challenging lighting conditions, a photo was snapped, and Chris completed his self-portrait.
Extending the Project
The portrait project was simply too much fun not to continue beyond the dinner party.
It was then suggested that we have a tea party to celebrate Chris’ feat and bring the paper napkin portraits to life.
Simon Hemsley’s Tree Street studio was chosen as the venue. It’s a centrally located working studio completely lacking in pretence. It’s friendly and relaxed and, at the same time, productive. And, Chris had previously spent some time creating alongside Simon in his studio.
As host of the tea party, we needed a portrait of Simon, and Chris willingly obliged.
Each participant in the portrait project was then invited to pose – either in or around the studio – with their portrait. Later on, we met with Chris and showed him the portraits again and asked for his thoughts. We documented what Chris had to say. We also gathered the impressions of Chris’ subjects.
Putting on a Terrific Tea
But first, a great tea needs, well, great treats. We decided on cucumber sandwiches, and found welcome tips on how to make them right here.
We also whipped up some terrific oatmeal cookies along with some totally amazing chocolate delights called densities. You can head to your kitchen to get creative, but we encourage you to enjoy the rest of the post.
Before we introduce you to Chris’ subjects, we say a big thank you Rob Cox of oxy images for accepting our invitation to tea and documenting our antics.
Meeting Chris’ Subjects
From Chris: “This doesn’t look like Linda at all. Her portrait looks like a prison guard.”
From Linda: “Our impression of a person is often based on previous experiences and what they look like on the outside. In fact, if we take away the facade – the uniform or the mask perhaps – we may be pleasantly surprised with what we find.”
From Chris: “This doesn’t look much like Wanda. This portrait looks like a prisoner.”
From Wanda: “I’m thrilled that I was wearing a beanie and scarf when Chris drew my portrait. They help keep me warm in prison.”
From Chris: “It looks like Simon just got out of jail.”
From Simon: “We all get locked into doing things we don’t want to for too long. But, now that I’m out of jail, I can do whatever I want.”
From Chris: “I’ve made Mike look like a pirate.”
From Mike: “I’m thrilled to look like a pirate. After all, I get to act like one while doing my day job when I’m living a life of grand adventure.”
From Chris: “I’ve known Barb for about ten years. She’s helpful. I remember she was there when I moved house.”
From the Editor: Barb’s been scarce since the tea party. Word on the street is that she’s crossing the Nullarbor. Maybe she’s evading jail. Let’s hope she can tell us in the comments section!
From Chris: “I think I drew my dad’s portrait from my memories of him.”
From John: “I look a bit lean in my portrait. Maybe I looked like that when I was twenty.”
From Chris: “This portrait looks more like Nurse Ratched than Robyn.”
From Robyn: “I’m delighted to look even a bit like Nurse Ratched. After all, she won an Academy Award, didn’t she?”
From Chris: “I’m like a surfer – physically fit”
From the Editor: Chris is the greatest of combinations: a sporty artist!
Thanks for being a virtual guest at our tea party! Did you enjoy yourself? Tell us in the comments section.
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See you next month!