My Pastel Portrait for 'Celebrating Our Women of Achievement'
What a wonderful project to participate in! I remember the email call from BAM asking for 24 women artists from their registry to do portraits of 24 women of achievement. I signed up, with just a little anxiety. I met my Achiever, Charima C. Young, ....on line at first and then in person.
We asked each other questions, shared photographs and ideas, we both went back to our worlds but kept in touch.
Then I started on some sketches, some in charcoal , some in pastel. I like doing portraits but they also terrify me. I worked on the early sketches in between teaching Fall classes, to figure out just how I was going to do this. Time passed but I was slowly working on likeness, composition, color palette and more.
My favorite way to work is to work on a series of related or unrelated paintings at the same time, rotating from one to the next....the "volleyball" of painting. I set a timer, work on a painting, 30 minutes usually, the timer goes off, and I reset it and move to the next easel for 30 minutes, etc.
I do this for a number of reasons: It keeps me from getting bogged down, I learn from each piece, it teaches me patience, it helps me get through some really tedious work, it keeps me from going too far in the wrong direction , and it makes me think more , reflect more, and be more productive.
With Charima's portrait, I had my preliminary sketches but I had only one painting. I was putting all of my 'eggs in one basket', it didn't feel right and my one portrait wasn't quite right....! I was feeling that I just wanted to "get it over with"! Getting it over with should not be part of my creative process!
I needed to go deeper, learn more , think more , try different approaches ... And hopefully end up with one decent result.
I decided to work on a series of portraits on different surfaces and using different approaches and combinations of photos. And so it began, with all of the easels lined up, and each painting getting the 30 minute cycle.
With each one, I learned more and more, I felt like I was taking a portrait workshop. Instead of feeling fearful, I felt better. Finally one of the portraits felt very right from the very beginning... It was my favorite. The others were okay, but just okay.
I was approaching the time deadline; my portrait was finished, framed, and delivered.
I still had not shared a copy with Charima.....that is always scary, showing the portrait to the subject or client.
When the mail arrived with the postcard promoting the Women of Achievement and Charima's portrait was one of the six on the postcard...Wow, that felt good!
And later, the portrait was one of several on the cover of Town and Gown.
I got a call from Charima, she liked it!
The exhibit itself was marvelous; I hope you were able to see it!
The entire experience was way beyond my expectations and much appreciated!