I didn’t have much time to work on my painting yesterday. The mother of one of my closest friends died after having a stroke, and I attended the funeral. In our church after the service, we have a reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres instead of preparing a meal, so I served punch and then stayed to help clean up. We boxed up the remaining food, and then I and another couple took the food and the flowers to my friend’s home where she her family had gathered after the interment.
When I got home, I worked on the painting a little while, but I really don’t enjoy sitting at the easel at night. It’s in my living room; I have a little art area in another room but would rather be in the living room in summer because it’s cooler. Anyway, sitting on the sofa, I could see mistakes or at least things that needed fixing. For example, her shoulder was too low and one of her eyebrows was too high. I didn’t have the pout in the mouth that made the reference photo so appealing, and the background was sort of boring in that flat gray.
I’ve spent most of today trying to fix those things. I made the eyelashes too long on both top and bottom and had to do those over completely. I redid the nose completely. I think the mouth definitely looks better since I widened it and added highlights and shadows. The eyes are still not perfect, but I am not sure how to fix them. I might ask one of my online teachers for suggestions. I’m prettying pleased with how the the hair turned out.
I’m not sure when I decided I was finished. Several times I got up, walked across the room, saw something, and went back to the canvas. Once I finished the background, I noticed the eyebrows needed darkening, and then she was ready to sign, I wish I could make the eyes prettier, but I don’t feel like I have to fix them. I don’t really know what they need, so I am okay with them as they are. She feels good to me; she feels finished.
This is actually my first painting that was not part of a class lesson. That is, it was done from my own reference with my own skill set. I did use Kara Bullock’s skin tone blocking method, but she isn’t the only teacher who begins her portraits that way. I learned from her, but now the technique is my own, which is what learning is .
I like this girl. I feel good about myself. I’m happy. There’s a real satisfaction in being finished.