I’m a big fan of Sonsini’s painting. For several years he painted the same model, Gabriel. In a 2000 interview in Art Connoisseur magazine, Sonsini describes how he rediscoverd painting:
Q: Your collaboration with Gabriel began with a camera, correct?
Sonsini: Yes, I was photographing Gabriel. We’d done, I think, six sessions at the time and then he was here one day and I was bored with photographing. I was thinking, “Well, what will we do today?” Then, I had an idea. The most absurd things in my mind came together that afternoon. One was painting from a live model, and the other, even more absurd, was to pull out the easel I bought for who-knows-what-reason a year before. So, to paint somebody in that manner felt like I had never painted before. It was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had in my studio.
AC: After all of these hours, how are you able to keep painting Gabriel?
Sonsini: I still find his image unreal. How many times can I paint that foot on the ground and every time I look at it, my feeling is, “Oh, good lord in heaven, that is a human foot, right there, right next to me.” I love that.