Nothing quite as scary as portrait art

It was 10 years ago when I first felt the rumblings of possibility for an art career, but I was terrified of portraits because of the usual artist insecurities: What if it looks nothing like the person? What if I can’t do it? What if I just suck altogether and am doomed for a life in project administration?

Needless to say, the couple of clients that I did have at the time (when I didn’t know how to paint… at all) had more belief in my artistic abilities than I did, so I coasted along on their illusions and abandoned all hope of my art career after two okay-ish portraits that took far too much time and brainpower.

Fast forward to present-day wannabe artist me… and after MUCH practice.

Earlier this year, a new mom approached me to do portraits of her little girl. Since I’m in the business of creating joy (not just art), I accepted the challenge, but forced myself to chill a bit on the perfectionism. No one asked me for super-realistic portraits, so I removed the pressure and decided to play with the brush strokes and the blending and see what happened on the canvas.

I’d have liked the effect to be a little more rough and more contrasted, but this also works. I don’t usually layer my work in particular, but the layering in these paintings certainly helped for the final outcomes.

portrait-1
Portrait #1
I see all the mistakes, but if I give myself a little slack, this portrait came out exceptionally well. Incidentally, the little girl’s grandparents called shotgun on it when they saw it, so that was a satisfying tip of the hat in my direction 🙂

portrait-2
Portrait #2
I struggled to find this right colours for the second portrait because of the odd lighting in the photo, but the result somehow also made it a little more three-dimensional. Very happy with this one.

portrait-3
Portrait #3
LOVED this one, if not mostly for the thoughtful look on her face and the extra interest with the hand-mouth interaction. Having completed the other two first, I felt a lot more confident with this piece and experienced my painting process as quite fluid and hassle-free.paint

I have to give a special thanks to Genuine Heritage Craft Products for the simple fact that their paint has been my staple for MANY years and has never disappointed when it comes to ease of application. The above photo should give you an idea of the colours I used… and the fact that I’m not a big fan of mixing colour off-canvas. I like to work straight from the jar, blending wet on the canvas for the result I like.

Going to be throwing out some more portraits, hopefully before the end of this very tumultuous year!

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