Working on Portraits
I’ve been trying to finish up a large (30″x22″ )watercolor/gouache portrait recently, but I always seem to come close to where I want to go, and then somehow lose it completely and wipe the whole thing off. One of the problems is that I’m not quite sure how I want to handle it.
Two years ago, I started a series of these large portraits based on photos taken mostly of people I don’t know, seen on the street or at the market. And then, with two of them unfinished, I just left off and went on with other, smaller things. During my recent studio cleanup, I came across them, still on the paper stretchers, and decided it was time to get working on them again. I’m having a tough time revving up again – or maybe I stopped because I was in a difficult spot with the last one especially. I’m not sure.
Here are the finished ones, my family doctor, smoking a cigar, and a vendor on the Sunday morning market here in Amboise:
Here’s one I’m stuck on :
And the one I’m really stuck on, which has recently been washed out again (I enhanced it a bit so you could see something):
To try to move things along, I drew this from a photograph this weekend – another very difficult photo to work from, and I gave her that spacy “I’m looking at a computer screen” look (which she was), but it was a good skill sharpening exercise. Why are portraits so hard? Partly, I guess because the tiniest little inaccuracy throws off a likeness. Have you noticed that it’s harder to get it right with people you’re close to? Any thoughts on the subject?