I asked for a photo from a friend so I could practice my portrait skills. Gracie's look was such that I couldn't resist painting her. She says so much with her eyes that I hoped to capture it in watercolor.
There is a set pattern that I follow when I do most of my paintings. It has been working so well for me, I am reluctant to change it so quickly. You know "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".
But that doesn't help me grow. I haven't been doing my painting process long enough to be tired of it !!! AND I want to get it down without thinking so much about it before I go ahead and change it.
It is the process I mentioned in a previous post. From the photo I make a value study THEN another study that shows where my whites will be AND make a color study to figure out color placement AND make my drawing the correct size AND then I paint!!! I don't have to follow the coloring or the values to the exact detail but I do know my subject by the time I go to paint. Doing exercises was reinforced in Janet Rogers workshop. This takes time but it pays off in the finished work. So when do you change it for the sake of growth OR is that something that needs changing.
You know how you second guess yourself well, I am rethinking all the steps and wondering if I am pre-painting too much. Plus I am doing some interesting quick warm-up sketches which say a lot even though they are not true to the shadow direction or leave out some of the coloring. It makes me wonder if making shadowing like the photo is necessary or important. I guess it would be important if its your child and you would like it to be accurate. Or would you be ok with it being designful and not so accurate.
I truly like this quick value study more than the painting. It would be a challenge for me to paint it this way more so than following the photo for shadowing. Her face shadows are not accurate but they have more emotion in her face than in the painting to me.
This big question will keep me wondering for a while. I imagine I will be doing some paintings more than one time to figure this out for myself.