Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Passing Interest

Passing Interest
7" x 9" watercolor

Some of you will remember that last year around this time I had a contest where I gave away one watercolor portrait. And here is the finished painting. :)

The winner of the contest lives in Utah so we were able to get together so I could take the kind of reference photos I like to work from.

I took my model to a place that looked like a harmless office building with lots of grassy areas lit with gorgeous light from the sun that had just started to set. And no people or pets within sight, which is what I saw at every single park I looked at before I found this perfectly deserted spot.

I start taking pictures, giving very vague and not-too-helpful hints for my poor model to look "that way" while I point somewhere to the north-south-westish, "somewhat mysteriously", "like you're an international woman of intrigue",  and repeatedly "stop laughing at me!" (I need some work on my model directing skills.)

When all of a sudden a security guard (complete with darkened sunglasses) walks out. Thus begins my tale of how I narrowly escaped Serious Trouble With The Government:

Security Guard: "DON'T take pictures of the building."

Me: *blinks* "Ooooh-kay."
Because obviously that's what I was doing. This woman posing for me was all a ruse so I could take pictures of this fantastically secret, but very well protected building. MWA HA HA!

Model:  *barely contained laughter*

Me: *gives model a pleading look that says "Dude, do NOT mock the security guard!"*

Security Guard: *crosses arms over chest while giving me the evil eye*

Me: *smiling innocently* "I wasn't taking pictures of the building, just her," I say, pointing to the model who's trying to supress yet more laughter.

Security Guard: *more evil eye directed at me*

Me:  *gives security guard feigned look of shock after looking down at my camera (I should totally be an actress)*
"And would you look at that! I got all the photos I needed so we'll, um, *swallow* just be going now," I say. 

Me and Model: *start backing away from the security guard in a calm, non-guilty way for about five seconds before turning around and speed walking to my car*

Luckily we both escaped with our lives, our freedom, and my camera. :) The moral of this story? Don't take your model to a building, or area, that you think is just an office building but might be an undisclosed government location.

Unless you like getting hit with the evil eye by burly security guards.  Or worse.

That's all I'm gonna say.

Hopefully government officials are not reading this blog. . .

*It should also be noted that this model is beautiful and she was a joy to work with. She took my direction to look "somewhat mysterious to the north-south-westish" very well. :))))

Upcoming Events: I will be teaching a one day watercolor portrait class on October 15 for the Syracuse Arts Guild in Syracuse, Utah. click here for details or email me with questions at crystal@crystalcookart.com


  1. So if you suddenly disappear, we'll know it was a very secret building :)

    Lovely portrait btw :) xx

  2. like you're an international woman of intrigue... hahahaha, that made me laugh out loud. Sounds like it was quite an adventure. Gorgeous watercolor!

  3. ROFL.. really had a good laugh.. In fact still laughing.. You are just awesome.. And I think some people are born lucky. Otherwise they will not get your painting for free.

  4. Gorgeous painting, lovely model, hilarious story!

  5. Crystal, what a gorgeous portrait! LOVE those pinks! And your story is so hilarious. Thank you, Crystal, International Woman of Intrigue!!! :)

  6. Such a lovely portrait...we have come to expect this though, you are one very talented lady. Oh, and keep your paints and sketchbook with you, it will give you something to do if you happen to disappear!

  7. Beautiful portrait!! I'm glad you made it out alive:) I've had a few of those experiences, I'm always trying to photograph the wrong thing on Air Force bases. Now you have a story to go along with your painting:)

  8. Crystal...a hilarious story and a phenomenal portrait. well done!Thanks for sharing

  9. What gorgeous skin tones! I really wish I was taking your class!! She must be over the moon with her portrait. And funny story. More happened, right? But if you told us you'd have to kill us? mwah ha ha

  10. Beautiful portrait, Crystal! she's a beautiful girl!! LOVE the story!

  11. Stunning portrait of a beauty :) I love the colors, the look, the light and of course the story! Stay safe my friend in your art adventures! Save the bold daring feats for the watercolor paper :)

  12. Beautiful piece Crystal and a very amusing story :) Just take care where you photograph, you won't get the same lighting conditions as this in the State Penitentiary!

  13. Ooh - how scarey!!!
    But so worth it because this model must be over the moon and further with this portrait! The eyes are so deep and so beautifull, it really draws me in. Utterly perfect :0)

  14. Her portrait is awesome, Crystal and my what an adventure you had.

  15. your work is amazing!!! lovely blog!!!

  16. great story and the painting is just incredible crystal!!! what agreat expression and those pinks, roses and hints of blue are just stunning. one of my very favorites of yours!!

  17. Wow , your watercolours are incredible! I really like the colours in this piece. The pinks, magentas and bright lighting work great with this very interesting expression. I especially like how the girls attention is captured by something off in the distance, (maybe the security gaurd?). Very warm and human. I love your work. You have a real gift Crystal.

  18. Dang. He foiled your plans. Now what?

    You're going to teach?! That's wonderful!

  19. The painting is certainly lovely and I am sure the model is too. It was a smart act really to escape so well. I was once caught by police photographing an obsolete steam railway engine and they did not let me go until I deleted all the photos. All the best for the class. I am sure your students will learn a lot from you.
    Best wishes,


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment they really do mean so much to me! Because not all bloggers have their email enabled so I can reply directly through email I will try to reply here in the comments. If I don't please forgive me, life must have been hectic that day! :)) Huzzah!!

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