I have been thoroughly enjoying myself with these recent portraits, and it's not just because they all happen to be dumpling-cheeked babies and I am fully under the spell of besotting pregnancy hormones -- although that probably helps.
I think it's that I have stumbled upon an ideal combination of size, materials, and time invested.
Paper takes paint in a totally different way than canvas or board, and I've found that I do a lot less mixing on the surface. Instead, I'm making a stronger commitment to each brushstroke, and using fewer brushstrokes over all. In other words, I AM NOT FIDDLING SO MUCH.
And since I only work in the deceptively short hours that my kids are in school, it is incredibly satisfying to finish a whole portrait in one sitting.
This has also freed me up to stay unattached -- if it doesn't turn out, I can scrap it and start over, instead of feeling compelled to return and fix the places where I went wrong (ie: FIDDLE). But so far, amazingly, I haven't scrapped any of them.
Dare I say it? I found the sweet spot.