I have been working on one painting since the beginning of the month, so three weeks now, and I am at that point where I don’t know how to move forward, inspiration is lacking, but I know that there is so much to improve on it. It is a portrait from a photo of myself. It is quite large for me, 24 inches square, and so far the painting has gone really well and I have been excited about how good it looks. Hmm, that could be the problem, I’m getting to the stage where I think it might be good, and so I’m too scared to paint on it in case I mess it up! I know that that mind set doesn’t get you anywhere. I need to push beyond my comfort zone in order to improve.

   It also doesn’t help that I haven’t painted it for a few days. Today is full of pregnancy related appointments and bottling peaches before they go bad. I just have enough time to write this and then scurry off to a midwife appointment. Also, sharing work space with very busy husband completing his final year of an engineering degree, means I don’t get to paint during the weekend. Which is fine with me as there are many other things I got to catch up on. (Lots of baby sewing this last weekend).

   But this week, my main goal is to get this painting finished finally. Last year I bought Ceaser Santos’ instructional video on portrait painting, so while painting each stage of this I have been going through all nineteen hours of watching him paint a portrait and teach. It has been very helpful, I am learning so much, but the learning curve from seeing what he dose to putting it into practice in my own painting is very very steep!

  Here are a few progression photos up to what it looks like now. I’m hoping to get this finished by the end of the week!

The under drawing. I spent quite some time getting this as accurate as possible in charcoal. Then I sprayed fixative over the top and began painting over it.
How it looked somewhere halfway through painting. I had some vague ideas for fancy hair which I later painted out.


How the painting looks today. After spending a day on the hair, the face suddenly looks really badly painted again!

Just looking at the painting now in the image on the screen, I’m thinking of what I need to do to improve it. The face is looking too saturated and red without enough contrasting cool colours.  Many of the shapes and values need refining, so I really need to pay attention to the drawing and the value structure as I paint.

Well, time to go, and I’ll let you know how this painting goes. Hopefully I’ll have the finished thing to show you soon!


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