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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Painting Myself Out Of a Corner

As the year draws to a close, the challenge for the Different Strokes blog was a portrait.  Not a self-portrait, but a portrait of another artist. This year, 180 artists participated in this annual Artist Portrait Swap for Karin Jurick's blog, where artists send in a photo of themselves, and another artist gets the photo to paint.

True confession time, here.  I don't do portraits.  I don't like to do portraits.  I normally wouldn't touch a portrait with a ten-foot paintbrush.

But that's what challenges are all about, right?  Stretching your artistic boundaries?  Climbing every mountain?  Boldly going where you haven't gone, and never wanted to go, before?   So once I pressed the little 'send' button on my email, and my photo went off into Karin's mailbox, I had no choice but to climb the mountain.


Elisha
7" X 5", acrylic on gessoed acrylic paper
© 2009, Lisa Walsh

Meet Elisha Fields, one of the artists that participated in the challenge. 

Normally a painting this size would take me a few hours.  I agonized over this one for two days.  I mixed and tried I-don't-know-how-many batches of "skin" color; as a result she went from looking like she was seasick one minute to looking like a Cirque du Soleil acrobat the next.  When I finally got the poor woman to the point where she didn't appear to be suffering from some rare eight-syllable skin disease, I moved on. Then there were several wardrobe color changes, each worse than the last, until a nice, muted, complementary ensemble seemed to do the trick.  Finally a nice, cool background, and it was time to put the brush down and back away from the easel.

Would I do this again next year?  You betcha.  Hopefully I'll learn a few things in the next 365 days, making the trip into unknown artistic territory a little easier.

What artistic challenges have you taken on?

A very safe and Happy New Year to everyone!

My Muse is breathing a sigh of relief.  To unfamiliarity, and beyond!


23 comments:

Carol Nelson said...

Lisa, this is awesome! I think you discovered, as I did, that portraits can be really fun. The whole DSFDF thing got me going on my 100 Portraits in 100 Days project which starts tomorrow!
You should do more portraits, oh yeah.

Vern Schwarz said...

Lisa, way to persevere. Love your broken dabs of colour and the colours themselves. This painting is very warm in spite of the cool background.

Pattie Wall said...

Hi Lisa - I think this portrait is amazing. I love the acrylic painterly treatment - your style is unique and this one should be considered the one on top!

Barb Hillier said...

I love your work, the bold use of color is like eye candy to me. You caught such a great expression on this portrait too! Well done!

Edward Burton said...

Beautiful portrait, Lisa. I love your painting technique. Great job!

Carol Horzempa said...

Great job Lisa, love your colors, flesh tones and the unique way you apply your paint!

Susan Liles said...

Wonderful portrait! With all the agonizing and hours of time, you accomplished a great portrait. Maybe you'll learn to like painting them. Like your style!

SYLVIANE said...

Liza, your portrait is a success!I like your unique style.

dominique eichi said...

wonderful portrait Lisa, I love your style of creating . Do more portraits it definitively suits you.

Lisa Walsh said...

Thanks everyone! I really appreciate all of your comments and support. I do have to say it was a great learning experience, but.....I don't see myself opening a portrait studio anytime soon. :-)

Claire Beadon Carnell said...

Beautifully painted. This is really a fine portrait!

Bill Brauker said...

You did a great job, it is really well done, and I loved hearing about the process. I know I went through some of the same feelings.

Barbara Pask said...

One of my favorite submissions for the challenge. Very interesting!

L.Holm said...

It's wonderful! (and killer funny commentary!) excellent work for not liking portraits much. Glad to hear you'd do it again!
Liz

Jill said...

Eye-stopping (hence the comment). Really wonderful.

debwardart said...

Lisa - what a refreshing blog! I love not only your painting style but also your writing skills. From another post-menopausal woman verging on senility - you made me smile and laugh! Hope your dog heals quickly. I'm adding you to my blog list and will be checking back often.

c.gillespie said...

Lisa,I love this portrait of Elisha. I also love your sense of humor and your Christmas dog portrait.
All the best for the New Year

Catherine

Terri Buchholz said...

Absolutely - what they said! I really enjoyed comparing the photos to the paintings on YouTube and you grabbed it! Great job! Hope your pup is coming along well in her recovery!

Martin Wall said...

This is a very nice painting!!!

Violetta Smith said...

I exactly know what you mean, that what I went through with my model...from sick pale to sunburn red and few colors of shirts. It took
me "only" 4 days.
Your portrait is absolutely stunning.

jill polsby said...

Loved your painting. Wasn't the Different Strokes Challenge fun!! A huge thank you to Karin for making this possible. Keep on painting Lisa. It's great!!

Lisa Walsh said...

A huge thank you to everyone. I cannot begin to express how much your feedback means to me. The challenge became a showcase, and I really enjoyed viewing the YouTube videos to watch the metamorphosis from picture to portrait. You are a bunch of amazingly talented artists! Your work all looks so effortless when viewed from my computer screen, so I took a bit of comfort knowing that some of you also had issues with the challenge....I wasn't the only one! :-D Another huge thanks goes to Karin Jurick for all of her time, effort and hard work, and for giving us the chance to share our art.

Nicole Horn-Fakher said...

Hello Lisa,
I had the same problems with the colour skin. You solved it marvellous. Very nice work. Keep on painting.