I wasn’t satisfied with the acrylic washes on paper. It felt too timid and I wanted to really challenge myself. I liked the face I painted, but wanted to redo it differently. I’ve been enjoying the use of the pallet knife to build volume in my still life paintings and wondered how it would work out for a portrait.

I stared at my gessoed surface for days, not sure how to start. Do I put in the face with charcoal and then paint in and around that drawing? My gut screamed, no! It was telling me to start with the background and give the surface lots of awkward textures. This would make it hard to draw a realistic portrait and add some life to the composition.

I knifed in the three colours and then watched it dry. Then I stared at it for almost an entire week. I was considering the possibility of hiding half the face behind the dark panel on the left of the canvas. When I finally took my black pastel crayon in hand, I decided to centre the face, as you see it here.

More to come…


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