Sunday, January 19, 2014
I have been working on portraits on and off for a couple years now. I can certainly see improvement in my work but I don't feel like I'm there yet. (Of course I don't think you are ever where you want to be as your expectations continue to grow.) Recently I've been struggling with making the portrait look like the person. This may have to do with painting people that I know. Like my daughters.
Amy Snowden had talked about painting the shapes of the nose and other parts of the face. Then a nose or whatever you are painting starts to look like what it is. This is very helpful advise. I have really worked on copying the shapes of my faces and they do begin to appear.
But then there is the gestalt of the face, the expressive feeling of the person that you are looking at. It seems to be more than a summation of shapes. It seems to come from within the person and gives the face life. This is something that I see when looking at someone or a photo but I do not know how to capture.
There are many moments when painting that I am just performing techniques. Some of them have gotten easier and some of them are more of a struggle. Then there are those times that I go into the zone and the painting starts painting itself. I think this is where I will find the way to expressing the feeling of a person or maybe it's the feeling I have about the person.