Tuesday, February 10, 2009


The portrait has not been going well. For the benefit of anyone interested in the process, I'm posting some of the states below. I'm now on the fourth scrape-it-all-out-and-start-again: the "Better but still no good" painting, which was the latest, is no more. Kaputt.

Some of what I'm struggling with is:

1. The sad grey winter light and the shortness of days.

2. Indecisiveness about what approach I want to take.

3. Tendency to overdo and thus lose something that was going well.

4. Having become used to the speed and ease of digital painting and its marvellous "UNDO" option, unfortunately unavailable in real-life oil painting.

5. The infuriating, seductive, non-user-friendly character of oil paint.

6. An angry nostalgia for bygone years when I was able to toss off a really quite good portrait in a few hours.

7. Bad mood due to all the above plus some extra stuff not worth mentioning.

Okay, I know: Fail again. Fail better.

I'll keep going. A desire to please is the enemy. Must keep that in mind.



Anonymous said...

Comments on your other blog are not on at all so here I am. Seems to me that you are progressing well, perhaps we get more self-critical of our own image when doing self-portraits. I like the blurriness and looseness of the one where the mouth has been wiped off....gone, I suppose...

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Marja-Leena, the comments are working fine on Blaugustine - I wonder why they're not showing up for you. Maybe you could try again?
I think I'm critical in general, not because it's a self portrait. I want to get a likeness but, more importantly, I want it to be a good painting (in my criteria of what that means) and so far, this painting hasn't got there, except in brief flashes - which I've then lost by overdoing it!