Sunday, January 15, 2012

Epic Fail: How to make bad painting decisions

My portrait ended in utter disaster and epic failure. After twelve hours of optimistic toil, she kept getting further and further away from what I wanted her to be, until in a fit of frustration and dissatisfaction, I defaced her entirely in one last effort to "fix" her. She wasn’t great, but now she is definitely ruined.

A Portrait Gone Wrong. Click for a closer look at miserable failure.

In an effort to shade her more subtly, I made her too purple and dark. In an effort to fix one eye, I ruined both. And, thinking this a good opportunity to fix the grayness of her skin, I mixed some earthier shades of beige and slathered it all over her pretty face. Maybe it's still salvageable, but I think I'd rather start over.

Finding my own style of human character paintings has been rather difficult so far. I want cute and soft, but expressive and rich. I want characters that can pose peacefully, play with bunnies, rule imaginary kingdoms, escape from the lairs of dragons, read books quietly in an old library, and ride swans across enchanted lakes. Beautiful, versatile, and consistent. I have a long way to go and I'm likely to ruin a lot of paintings along the way. But, I'd rather fail epically occasionally than to have never tried.

Back to the drawing board. Literally.

Not all my paintings end in blobs of muddled paint. heartbreak, and disappointment (thank goodness!). Take a peek at my gallery and pop over to my little shop, where I keep my not so awful creations!


  1. I do so admire people who seem to change direction mid painting and just paint over.... I feel the same way with my work sometimes. somethings not quIte right i try to fix it and make a right royal mess of it!!!!!
    I try to way away a lot and check in a few days later. But I never really know when its finished !
    Your right we learn from our mistakes. Your girl was really quite lovely, lets see what comes from your paintbrush next.

  2. bah! i think every single frame you have posted here is wonderful! even the faceless one, it's somehow intriguing...

  3. Sometimes I find that when I have failed most epically in what I set out to do, if I walk away and take some time I can come back, and the face is sort of telling me what it wanted to be in the first place. I guess what I am really saying is don't pitch her in the fire just yet.