July 3, 2010

do the thing...

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?
Happy 4th...

11 comments:

Marian Fortunati said...

This is so absolutely wonderful, Faye...

You know, though.... when I read the initial part of your post and before I saw this little angel, I said to myself... Who is she trying to kid... She couldn't paint a bad painting if she tried!!!

And you didn't. Really well done!

Rhonda Hartis Smith said...

Faye, what a prescious painting because I know who your special model is :-) I don't think you would have any issues with painting portraits.

supplies overflowing! said...

Such a great post, that I am printing it as inspiration.

I am amazed at the look of this portrait. Her eyes look like they can follow you around a room, and that mouth is so perfect.

This (painting a portrait)is something you should def. do again.

Linda Popple said...

Very inspiring post and this painting is just beautiful! She looks so sweet. I can't imagine where you got the idea that you can't paint a portrait!

SYLVIANE said...

Wonderful portrait, delicate and so expressive!And I keep this sentence of Mrs Roosevelt,decided to use it!

dreamer said...

since I know this most endearing model ... I believe you have broken the barrier - to say the least. Now what ???

FCP said...

All of you are wayyyyy too kind. Yes, I can EVENTUALLY come up with something that "looks human" but please know that I hold portrait artists up on a pedestal--they truly are in a league of their own. It is that difficult. And while I may finally happen upon a skintone that kinda sorta works, believe me when I say, portraits are not my thing. But I will try again because I love a good challenge. Speaking of which, I notice none of you mentioned any challenges you plan to work on--but hopefully you will be inspired by Eleanor's words.
Thanks for taking the time to comment--cheers!

Edward Burton said...

I'm so glad that you didn't give up portrait painting, Faye, because this is a very wonderful and very sweet portrait indeed.

Barbara Pask said...

Just beautiful, a wonderful subject and a really excellent painting.

Teaworthy said...

Amazing! And, I think portraiture is now something that is no longer in the "cannot do" column for you. You really can and did so beautifully! What a great challenge and I adore this painting.

PaperPencilArt said...

I enjoy the painting. You captured the mood innocence of the subject. Well done.