Artistic rummage

The other day I started two (more or less) commissions. They are two portraits. Not so big a news, you would say.  I started one of these two portraits as I’ve started the previous portrait I’ve painted for my sis (and that you’ll see someday I promise). In other words, I mixed a flesh midtone and then started applying and mixing as I go red, yellow, sienna, blue for the various part of the face. I did good and the skin was smooth and rich after a while.

For the second portrait I decided I wanted to try something different and went for the technique I used for the Dreamnauts: an underpainting layer using the red, yellow, sienna and blue and a bit of that flesh midtone.

Halfway through this first stage I panicked.

A chill wave of terror rolled down my spine.

The face was A MESS.

I felt the urge to cover everything up and start again as if nothing had happened. I felt I’ve done something wrong, that “masters” didn’t/ don’t do it like this and so on.

But I didn’t. I thought that, as captain, I would go down with the ship.

I kept applying flesh tones and red and yellow and sienna and blue and worked until the face became a face again (I’m painting the hair now ).

You may be asking: Vale, why on Earth are you telling this?

Simply, I wanted to ask everyone who will be so kind to answer if they have ever had that “OH-GOSH-I-HAVE-TO-COVER-THIS-MESS-NOW” moment. I believe it is something every artist, who wants to push the boundaries (in the broadest sense), face. What do you think?


PS: I’m documenting these two paintings. When I finish them I’ll make a complete post.


2 thoughts on “Artistic rummage

  1. I’ve definitely had that same feeling. In the past I have become so frustrated when it isn’t coming together as I planned that I have walked away from it, putting it away for months or years. I am also guilty of pulling that canvas back out and painting over it with a new idea, abandoning the original concept.

    In my graphic design work I have had the same feelings and have taken a short break to work on something else, sleep on it, etc. Fortunately, the design work often has a time limit and I must return and work on it until it is perfect, unlike my fine art.

    I will be working on my painting abandonment issues this year by giving myself more prep time to work on roughs and play with technique before applying it to the painting. As well, a deadline per project will also help keep me on track.

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