Sunday, March 23, 2008

A modern heroine revealed

I love this portrait of J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter's mom. The whole atmosphere seems to mirror perfectly some inner state of closeness and simplicity I recognize as essential when sitting down to write.

I remember reading Ms. Rowling's own reaction to this portrait (painted by Stuart Pearson Wright) as capturing her in paint more than she thought possible for someone not close to her. In my opinion, not even those close to you will often be able to portray you in such an illuminating way. They may be able to describe you in words, perhaps, or list the things you like to do, which authors you like, what music you listen to, which movies you choose to view over and over - but to capture something central about you in a flash like in a painting or a poem, very few are able to do.

That is why, when it finally happens in one way or another, I feel a sense of gratitude. Perhaps you might view this as a kind of vanity, of a want to be seen and understood, but really it is about recognizing truth and then conveying it. And to me this portrait reveals something essential about this woman's creative space, which resembles most artists' locus of creativity; a lonely but wonderfully rich and exciting place in one's psyche.
You must dare to be still, or no work of art will leave your hands.
(I happened to read this article today, showing that Rowling, the now deservedly successful author has hit lows to equal her present heights.)

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