Do you ever find it hard to paint eyes and faces? I do (all the time).
One of the hardest things for me to learn as an artist was that I always get stuck. I got so frustrated with getting stuck, I began photographing my paintings at early stages in progress.
That’s when it finally clicked.
I realized every painting has an ugly stage. Every painting makes me feel like I won’t be able to create anything new or better.
I take progress photos to help me remember where I felt like giving up and when I thought I’d made a huge mistake.
For this painting, I was inspired by portraits and wanted to use a lighter color palette with more impressionist-style brushwork.
Every painting begins with the face and eyes. But with this piece, she initially looked so fearful, afraid to come out of the canvas. I kept adding color and dots, but I couldn’t find her shape.
After a few background layers (and many attempts at her eyes and face), she finally started to come out of the paint. But it wasn’t until I covered up that harsh red and added a bit more lightness into the background that she finally came together.
Oftentimes, when I look through my progress photos, I see where I’ve overworked a piece or given up too soon. It’s a fun way to develop my style and keeps me less afraid to cover up my art so I can be more fearless and find the magic.
In this video preview from my Serendipity 1 – Develop Your Style online class, I share more of my favorite supplies and techniques for creating a painting with lots of layers.
If you’re looking to add more whimsy and freedom to your artwork, paint with your fingertips and add layers of your favorite papers – like sheet music or book pages.