I’ve learned a few things while sitting on the modeling stand observing students observing me. It’s a two-way street, this educating in the life drawing classroom. First off, over the years, I have come to be able to tell the difference between a freshman and an upperclassman. The college years are action-packed and life-changing- lots happens during that period in a young adult’s life. And as remarkable as it sounds, those life experiences make their way onto the students’ countenance in only a few short years, never to be erased. It is not that there are actual visible lines in their skin- they are still too young for that. But it is a type of maturing, they actually LOOK as though they have lived longer on the planet and went through more life experiences, they actually look as though they possess more character. They begin to actually come to look more like an individual, as opposed to a random young student. They look more interesting and I found it more attractive in every single case, regardless if you would call them beautiful or handsome or not.
In the same vein, I have come to clearly see how a person’s internal disposition becomes written all over their face, the older they become. With every passing year, it becomes more pronounced and obvious. I have pointed this out to my children. I tell them, “That guy looks like such a nice person- it is the way in which they smile, the twinkle in their eyes, how they hold their mouths.”
A down-turned mouth in an older person is pretty much proof and advertisement of a miserable disposition, a life of disappointment and resentment. Not necessarily hard times, THAT again looks different on a face. Then there are some old people- not many, who seem to be smiling even when their mouths are still. The happiness they found over the years became etched in their faces until it became like a feature- a big nose or wide eyes, their mouths go up or can go down. and that’s how they stay all the time. It’s as though you are writing who you are, a happy or a miserable or an indifferent person in permanent marker on your face. You can’t hide it or fake it otherwise.
I have taught my children to look at people’s faces and into their eyes and learn to read them, gauge their honesty. I have pointed out women who look hard, women who have become hardened by life, either by their choices or by necessity, and it may have nothing to do with how they are dressed or how they wear their hair or apply their make-up. It is not a judgment, it is merely an observation, information about our fellow comrades in life.
There are so many things I have tried to teach my children that seem to have nothing whatsoever to do with general education, but life knowledge- information on how to select their friends or spouses, whose company they should strive to surround themselves with. Because people can either pull you down or lift your spirits, just by being in their company.There are mean little angry people and the light-hearted, joyful people, regardless of what life throws out to them. I want my children to seek out the happy people, the ones who appear genuine. Happiness is a choice we all make and it is written all over our faces, which of the two we have chosen to embrace.