There is always an on going conversation with representational artist about the use of tools, like mirrors, photos, projectors, grids etc. and the question of whether or not the use of these tools constitutes cheating. As if there is some unfair advantage in using these tools and conversely sainthood when you don’t use them. But the use of any tool as well as not using one does not make a drawing or painting better, especially representation works. When we have completed a painting of someone, what we have is not that person, regardless of the tools we used. What we have is our interpretation of that person on canvas or paper and it is the interpretation that is the most important part. I’ve heard this story about Gertrude Stein and Picasso many times and can guess that it is true. Supposedly on seeing this portrait of herself she said to Picasso “It doesn’t look anything like me” and he responded “that in time it will”. I and many other people that I know have seen photos of Ms. Stein and they don’t look anything like her. It’s the Picasso interpretation that I remember best. I believe everything we create is about us, what we feel, what’s important to us and what we want to say about it. Being skillful is helpful, but it doesn’t guarantee that you’ve got something to say. (As a kid, I was very skillful playing the piano scales, that is as far as it got). Creativity can be seen as a interpretation of what we believe is physically real. This small painting is a wp interpretation. still life wp2