I painted this little study from a snapshot that I took when I was in the Dominican Republic a few years ago. The quality of the snapshot is not very good, but I was compelled to paint from it anyhow, simply because I liked the expression on the girl's face. Perhaps one of the reasons her expression intrigues me is that I find it difficult to read.
The resort where I was staying had arranged a tour of the local countryside, so that vacationers could spend a day seeing what the real Dominican Republic was like. It was a humbling experience to see the living conditions of many of the people, and I sincerely hope that the money brought in by the tourism industry trickles down to the local economy and improves the lives of the people there.
I saw this little girl sitting outside of her house, watching the tour group as we walked past. In the snapshot, she is gazing at us and I can't quite tell what her opinion might be. There is a maturity in her face that seems beyond her years—but there is perhaps also a mischievous loof there as well. Is she interested and friendly? Is she about to play a prank? Does she think we are intruding with our cameras and our curiosity? I've studied her expression while I paint, and I still can't decide.