I usually paint over a face several times.
Yet every time I paint, I think it’ll just fall right into place. I’ve learned that if I follow my instincts and keep going, I’ll get to just where I need to be (eventually).
But sometimes a painting just doesn’t come together.
I try all of my tricks. I add origami papers for more detail (or to cover up something I can’t get rid of with paint). I layer more red neon ink at the temples for pops of color. I add more white dots with paint pen or oil paintsticks for softness.
But if a painting is still not coming together, especially if I’ve covered up the eyes and face ten times, I set it aside. I let it dry and work on something else.
I try something new.
After many ruined eyes and faces, I’ve finally recognized that sometimes it takes stepping away and clearing my head to get back to a place where I can paint freely again.
I might go for a walk, grab coffee or sit outside to admire the geraniums in my flower box. Or I might grab another painting that I’ve already ruined and cover it up.
Recently, I’ve started playing around with using a roller to apply dark inks and paints over these ruined pieces. This adds tons of freedom and contrast. I’m loving the texture it gives too.
If I’ve spent so much time trying to make one painting work, I usually feel less attached to another ruined painting and can take it in a new direction. Maybe I won’t get it right in that next try, but if I’m playing and not caring so much about how a face turns out, I can uncover something that does work.
Then I can go back to that painting I’d been so frustrated with and try out that new technique. Again, it might not work and it probably won’t be perfect since it’s one of the first times I’m trying it out. But I finally realized those elements that come out in my paintings when I’m playing and unattached are the traits that eventually define my style.