I don't know what it is about working on paper, but the paint is really enjoying itself... It's like the materials have totally different personalities. The paper is receptive, forgiving, immediate. I spend way less time mixing paint on the surface; I just lay in the pigment quickly, so the brushstrokes end up being more visible and more alive, somehow.
I loved working on this brother-sister pair -- their eyes are so gorgeous and animated! Amazing how the paint, in its spontenaity, can capture the light in them.
I used to really fret about doing anything in pairs or multiples, because I was so afraid they wouldn't match enough... as in, what if one turned out really good and the other was just so-so?
Each new painting is a wild guess, and it feels a little damning to admit that... It's impossible to predict which piece is going to sing and which one is going to blow raspberries. But over time it really is quantity that matters, and I have been churning out portraits in the last four months. Do a bunch of work all at once, and there is bound to be some consistency.
And I also appreciate now that every piece doesn't have to "match" -- they are their own people as much as they are their own paintings.
Still, don't these sisters look gorgeous together?
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.