The delicate balance of achieving a great portrait


Self-taught young Omani artist Asaad al Saadi is fascinated with lines. Not just any typical line but those that bring an old man’s face to life, that betray his story, that reflect the life he lived.
He likes the contour of a woman’s face, the refine almost invisible wrinkles that are unique to every individual. He loves the tiny curves on the smile of an innocent child which also tells a lot about their upbringing.
“Achieving a great portrait is a delicate balance. It should capture the likeness of a person or at least the essence of them, while still maintaining an artistic voice,” Asaad said.
Asaad believes that art, in general, contributes to shaping the reality of our lives.
When done right and at the right moment, they can help change the status of war or even shine a bright light on the grief of the world.
“Art is the clearest form of sending a message. It has a way of bringing to the consciousness of the masses the situation of every country,” he added.
“I love painting the faces of little girls. They have a way of showing the size of their agony, and it makes people act to make that sadness into happiness which they deserve,” he shared.
“All children deserve to live in a community that is filled with love and security. They should be able to enjoy their childhood, yet many of them suffer. Their smile and youth stolen by guns in many countries,” he said.
Asaad started his artistic journey by using pencils “to show to myself and others that it can be done, that you can still show details of beauty and agony just by using this simplest of artist tools.
“Just like any artist, he also goes through self-introspection and how he feels about himself transforms itself into a work of art.
“I have this painting where hands covered this face. This art was actually a reflection of who I am and how I feel. While we usually pick up our own truth from each painting, this particular piece is a symbol of me running away from people who belittle me as an artist. It’s my way of saying that I will build myself up, find my own success despite their hindrance,” he said.
The black background of the piece is the focus of a viewer’s attention to the message. He has other pieces like this all signifying a message of him as he goes through the process of discovering himself and his passion for the art.
“I love making these little commentaries. I have this painting of an African boy with droplets on his face signifying difficulties and obstacles. Yet, the intensity of his eyes shows his fierce determination to thrive despite his circumstance.”
He added, “Every piece is a learning experience. I learned that to communicate a message. I have to learn to balance all the elements on the portraits. The African boy piece was my first time to draw in details the black skin. I was able to balance the skin layer with the water drops, including the shadow and light, which give the face the life that it realistically convey.
“Such learning greatly satisfies me and help make the next pieces easier to manage,” he said.
Asaad’s work has gained the admiration not only of his family and friends but also netizens who can relate to the art pieces he puts online.
“The acceptance of people boosts my confidence and encourage me to produce more artwork,” he said. As an artist, he still wishes to refine his skill and become even better in delivering a message. He knew the power of art and would like to take his to a level where he can influence people to change for the better.
“I participated in many events and exhibition inside Oman. I like the opportunity to learn and work with others. All artists definitely would like for their work to be recognized and I also wish the same,” he said.