I have a love/hate relationship with portraits. They’re what got me into drawing. I love them- when they turn out perfectly… But that’s hard to do! It’s been awhile since I sat down to draw a portrait, but since I’ve done one of both of my nephews, I can’t very well slight my niece, now can I? She is adorable & sweet. I love the few pictures we have of her so far in her 6 whole weeks of life & I was excited to sit down to draw her portrait from one of them- until I actually did it! I had forgotten that paralyzing fear & panic that comes along with it! I’ve read of some of the great masters describing the same thing… and how it NEVER GOES AWAY! At least for me, they’re right. No matter how many portraits I’ve done & had them turn out well, I always agonize until the eyes, the face, the hands are done. The rest is easy.
I marvel that the feeling of overwhelm- of what if I can’t do this? is always there. Why do we doubt ourselves so much? What’s the worst that can happen? Screw up & start over? Been there. Done that. Didn’t kill me. -Didn’t like it much either, though. I am too much of a perfectionist to forgive a hair out of place. Maybe that’s why I like flowers. They are much easier to get along with. You can mess with them a little & they still look right. But get an eye ever so much off in angle, color, size, or anything else & EVERYBODY notices! (You most of all.)
I haven’t drawn much in awhile, but my husband thinks I should go back to it. I’m itching to finish my 4 year quilt- especially since winter is here. But then there’s that other itch to finish the Women of the Scriptures series I started several years ago…and down the rabbit hole I go again! -Always too many ideas! Perhaps that’s the life of an artist. The possibilities are both exciting and agonizing! There’s never enough time to chase them all, and all too often I end up lost- down the rabbit hole. -Oh well! Detours are fun!
So, hmmmm… Portraits. If you’re struggling, I don’t know what to tell you- other than the fact that it’s probably the tiniest of lines that’s driving you nuts. Keep erasing- or repainting. Remember to stand on the other side of the room & take a look at it before you write it off as a loss. Perspective is often all a painting or drawing needs to take on a life of it’s own. Remember there are plenty of blues in faces- along with all the peaches, pinks, reds, roses, yellows, browns & most of the rest of the rainbow. And remember the imperfections are what makes it look real. One eye should be a little more open than the other. There should be bumps in the hair line- never perfectly smooth. And portraits of babies that fill the page often mean that the baby hand you’re drawing is as big as your own. Strange but true! I’ll post my newest challenge- little Miss Hailey when it’s done.
Until then- happy art, everyone!