Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Gila. Confidence Regained

Gila. Watercolour and coloured pencil on 300gsm Cotman Paper
I've been through a really bad patch with my paintings for the last few months. There have been times when I've looked at a blank sheet of paper and given up before I've started. Where I have started, I've given up before finishing the work, or ended up with something dull and uninspiring - way below what I wanted to achieve. I know that I am busy at work these days, and when there has been time to paint, there always seems something else that needs doing.

Yesterday, it all changed. I thought to myself 'No TV tonight, I'm really going to make an effort, loosen up and do a painting from start to finish; not worry about how good or bad it turns out!'

With this portrait of Gila, I've used a slightly different technique. Out has gone the pencil and eraser, and I've used a mid brown coloured pencil instead, sketching her face very loosely, leaving in all the unwanted lines. If you look closely, you can see initial lines that were were altered, as with crayon there is no rubbing out. I also used the crayon to enhance the shadows and darks initially, just to show a little form before adding watercolour. This has mostly been covered with paint except lighter areas.

The finished work has given me much more confidence, being a good likeness and by the way it has turned out. I feel like I have just come out of a deep depression and that I am getting back on form. Thank the Lord!


  1. Welcome back Frank. All of us do get caught up in such pathches. But if you just keep walking the weather clear up; sure enough.. Really happy to see you back with a bang.

  2. Frank ~ back with a bang indeed! I'm happy that I, unknowingly, & in some small way, was able to help lift you out of the doldrums.

    Onward & upward!

  3. Bravo Frank! this portrait is wonderful and it is great that you are out of the doldrums. We all experience it but when you're in it it's horrible. welcome back to the painting world!

  4. This is wonderful Frank! And I think we have all been where you were, it is not fun and IS so depressing, but you have come out of it with fantastic style! I really love this Frank. :)

  5. Well, what a fabulous 'return to form' this is. Great work Frank, as always. ;-)

  6. Thanks Prabal, that's an interesting and wise way of looking at it!
    Thanks Gila, I can assure you that it was in a very BIG way!
    Thanks for looking in on me Maureen and giving me words of encouragement.
    Crystal, you are so kind.
    Thanks John, but maybe often far from great I fear :)

  7. Those eyes draw you in, they are very well painted. Love the interesting perspective too.
    So sorry that your art has been tough for you recently when it should be such a joy. I hope this is the beginning of a long, happy period for you xx

  8. I think that we all go through those periods Frank. You did the right thing though by making yourself paint and not pressuring yourself to produce a masterpiece. As a result, you have!

  9. Pat, I couldn't tell what colour Gila's eyes were from the photo supplied, I just hope I got it right!
    Sandra, that's a lovely comment. I guess that with painting, it's like everything else in life - just be yourself and everything will turn out fine.

  10. It happens to me too once in a while to be completely unable to paint..strange thing.... This one turned out really great, considering the difficulty of the position it is awesome!

  11. Oh Frank your post is so familiar, how many times.
    I like that you've tried something different, the colored pencil and w/c. don't you feel such a sense of relief when it works for you ? Really nice piece, good for you for not giving up ..BJ

  12. Thanks for the compliments Jane and Barbra, judging by all of these comments, I am not alone in the dreadful experience of painter's block!