The Face
36 x 43cm
The Face
14" x 17", acrylic, 2006

I first laid eyes on that face ten years ago on my neighborhood bus. We lived in the same neighborhood so I knew it was a matter of time before I was going to ask her to pose for me.

Admiring this face on a regular basis year after year was fine, but one day, it hit me like a ton of bricks. What would happen if she moved away before I ever got a chance to paint her? I knew exactly what would happen, I would regret it. That thought didn't sit well with me so I gave myself an ultimatum: 'No more procrastination. The next time I see her, I must approach her and ask her if she wants to pose for me.'

One day, after spending a good part of the day shopping, I decided it was time to come home. I took the subway. After getting off the subway, I got in line at the bus stop to wait for the neighborhood bus to take me home. I got on the bus and just as the bus was getting ready to leave, a tap on the front doors prompted the bus driver to open the front doors and let this passenger in. It was her! That face.

So there she was, once again, on the bus. At that moment, I recalled the ultimatum that I had given to myself. It was now or never. I did not want to approach her on the crowded bus and possibly embarrass her so I decided to wait until we both got off the bus. I can tell you that this usual five minute bus ride seemed to take forever. When she and I finally got off the bus, I was more determined than ever to finally end this decade long pathetic display on my part.

I was just about to approach her on the sidewalk when she took a sharp left turn to go into the neighborhood grocery store. Since I had something to buy at the grocery store as well, I thought it was as good a place to approach her and ask her to pose for me. There she was, in the fruit and vegetable section, unaware that I was just about to ask her the million dollar question. I finally got close to her and said, "Bonjour, est-ce que je peux te parler pour une seconde?" (For the bilingually challenged, this means, "Hello, can I speak to you for a second?")

Over the years, I perceived her as a discreet person so I was unsure how she was going to react. I explained the situation, gave her my business card, and suggested she take her time in making her decision. I think I got through the ordeal quite nicely! The conversation ended and I left the ball in her court. In the next couple of weeks, she viewed my website and came over with a couple of friends to see my paintings in person. She loved the paintings and unequivocally decided to pose for me! A couple of weeks later, she posed for me. Sadly, she moved away shortly after posing for me. With her gone, I no longer anticipate these neighborhood bus rides, but I take comfort in the fact that a special friendship was forged in all of this. Everytime I look at this painting, it puts a smile on my face and warmth in my heart. Truly a wonderful soul. Merci Véronique.