In the spirit of finishing old projects that’ve been gathering dust, I decided to unearth this portrait late last night when I found myself unable to sleep. I stalled on this painting years ago, completely frustrated with how it was turning out; I kept re-working areas of the canvas without any satisfaction. Working on it last night, though, I lost myself. Before I knew it, it was time to set the art aside, brush my teeth, and get ready for work.
Sometimes, I have discovered, it’s easy to stare at a composition for too long, to scrutinize it too much. There’s a kind of hypnosis that occurs. And when a piece isn’t quite turning out the way you want, all you can see are the imperfections. The problem areas overwhelm the rest of the composition and a discouraging futility settles in. It’s for this reason that I have so many incomplete projects laying about.
Something else I’ve discovered is that returning to an old ‘problem’ piece can be satisfying. Distance helps clear the cobwebs, and those problem areas don’t stand out as much. Solutions seem possible. The ‘writer’s block’ of the situation has faded away.
I slammed my head against the table so much over this painting and eventually gave up.
Last night, after a few hours, it all came together and became something I’m okay with.
I hope you enjoy it.
“Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
‘Portrait Month’ plunging forward with an old photograph from several years ago. It’s still a ‘natural light’ image – I really never got used to working in a studio environment – but it’s still a pretty heavily-produced series we shot that day. I love working with unpredictable light and problem-solving on the fly.
I’m pretty sure she didn’t like most of the images – but then, she’s even more critical of herself than I am of my own work, which is already unfathomably extreme.