A few years ago, I enrolled in a couple of different portrait workshops taught by master artists Dawn Whitelaw and Michael Shane Neal. And while I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of each, it was clear that portraiture just isn't my thing. Juliet said it best--when Lady Capulet inquired how she felt about her impending marriage to Paris, her reply was "it is an honor that I dream not of." That is exactly how I feel about painting portraits.
But this week I have been pondering THIS powerful quote:
So I decided to step way out of my comfort zone and do just that. In order to cross that invisible barrier, I focused on value relationships and color temperature, elements necessary for ANY subject. This "assignment" based on intention and purpose immediately dissolved any angst I previously felt about tackling such a daunting task. That, along with choosing a reference photo of a most endearing model ensured that my assignment would be anything but laborious....
12 x 16, oil on canvas
And now I am issuing this challenge to all of YOU reading this post. Think about whatever it is that you are currently avoiding, and consider Ms. Roosevelt's timeless advice to step out of YOUR comfort zone and do the thing you think you cannot do. Feel free to share your experiences--I would love to hear how you work through challenges to remove mental roadblocks. We all create our own barriers, and often hang onto them for dear life, but sometimes we just need to let...them...go.
"Well... I guess it SORT OF looks human"...(an unsolicited critique uttered by a very frank fellow student upon glimpsing my first attempt at portrait painting) Ouch... but hey, if we already knew how to paint, we wouldn't need teachers and workshops, right?