The last time I drew a portrait, I had a breakdown. A complete and total crying fit. Granted, I was in the second grade. But still.
I remember it well. There was a project that involved the whole school. Each teacher chose a student in their class to draw their portrait. My teacher chose me. I loved art. I mean, I LOVED it. So I did sort of seem the natural choice. But I didn’t have much, if any, experience drawing people. (Though who does in the second grade? This obvious point didn’t occur to me back then.) I struggled. But I came up with a portrait that I thought was okay. Not great. But okay.
A family friend of mine was also chosen to do his teacher’s portrait. Chris was in the fourth grade. He was also quite the artist. And, apparently, he was amazing at drawing portraits. Chris’s mom was at my house one day visiting with my mom, and they admired Chris’s drawing. My mom showed it to me. “Look at what a great job Chris did!” I saw Chris’s portrait and was mortified. It was SO GOOD. I smiled and acted happy for him.
That night, my second grade, perfectionist self got the best of me. My mom came to tuck me in, and I full out started bawling. “Chris’s picture is so good! Mine isn’t good enough. My teacher’s going to hate me. She’s going to think I hate her because her portrait doesn’t look pretty!” And then my mother spent the remainder of the evening convincing me that I was talented and worthy and my teacher loved me and she would love my portrait.
And that was the end of my attempts at drawing people. (Yeah, I was a little Type A back in the day. Or maybe A LOT.)
Over the years, I continued making art. I still loved it. I loved everything about it. But I never tried to draw people again. Never wanted to draw a face.
Yet, I still always admired art with faces.
Fast forward to the present. For the past few years, I’ve been loving whimsical mixed media portrait paintings. It started with my love affair with Kelly Rae Roberts work. And then I was noticing this type of work all over the place. I had this yearning to learn how to do that. I wanted to create my own mixed media paintings. I wanted to learn all those awesome techniques. Layered backgrounds. Painted faces. Messages. I loved all of it.
But I was busy. And I would need a million art supplies. And I didn’t even know where to start. So I let it go and kept thinking…some day.
Well, some day is now.
I started taking a class with Kelly Rae at the beginning of October. It’s online, and we do one portrait a month. She’s phenomenal. Such a great teacher. I am learning SO much. And I’m now obsessed. I’ve made several paintings since that first. I’ve taken what I’ve learned so far, and I’ve run with it. I don’t even cry when I paint a face these days! Haha!! Kidding. Type A girl is gone. I’m pretty laid back, and I would NOT cry over an art piece. As Kelly says, “There are no mistakes.” And I take that to heart. There are no mistakes. If you don’t like something, paint over it.
The painting above was my first with the class. Simple. Personal. Perfect.
And now I’m in love with painting faces. And sketching faces. And perfecting my ability to create whimsical faces. I just simply love them. I love that hours pass while I work on my paintings, and I don’t realize it. I love that my mind thinks of nothing other than my art when I’m making it. I love the meditative aspect of it all. I love the art supplies. I love all the pretty things.
So yeah, I think we can permanently add painting to my list of favorite things.