I was reading The Painters Key newsletter that came today and found myself chuckling over the struggle to get a likeness. It seemed appropriate since 'portraits' seem to be the subject of late. Many of you will have already read it, but I felt like posting a little of it here for any who may not get the newsletter. You know... maybe one of my five readers doesn't get it. (The newsletter is free, by the way.)
"One morning a couple of years ago I got the idea to paint a
self-portrait. I wanted one with my dog Emily and me peering
around the canvas like that Norman Rockwell cover everyone has
seen. Giving the job a bit of forethought, I remembered that if
the likeness isn't there, the whole thing is a loser. A
portrait without a likeness is like an Airedale without a wag.
I wanted my likeness to be fresh and simply done, with as few
strokes as possible. This was going to be the hard part. I also
wanted to get that look of stunned smugness that people notice
about me. I set up the mirror, squeezed out, and started.
The head was number one, and right off the top I got my face
too big. Roughing in the second important thing, my hand, I got
it too close to my big head. Taking down a fresh canvas, I
started over. This one worked better. In my case I often notice
I get a pretty good likeness within a few minutes and then
gradually tighten up until it begins to look like another
person. My second attempt was also better proportioned, even
with its minimal strokes. Applying the enormous self-restraint
for which I'm noted, I stopped working on me right there."
"Taking down a fresh canvas" hahahahahahaha I can so relate!