“If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” – Rumi

Art, like life, is a journey. We learn from every encounter, every intention, and every decision.

In the quest for something greater there are things I have to step on and cover up to make the next leap. Sometimes it works. Sometimes not. But I think as long as fear is not my constant companion, I will be successful.

The tail is still a trouble so on the last sitting with the model I had her wear a tank top and focused on getting her shoulder and the strap to read correctly at least form-wise so that the tail now turns into blue and down the back of the shoulder. That finally seemed to finalize that area.

I added more fish. I took some away. I really wanted my last session with the model to help tell the story of a real person amongst all this color and distortion. She let me put a towel on her head to study the turn of the bright blue-green color on the headband as well as tape the marble onto the top of her head…

My cat, Havoc, visited while we were working… 

At this point I realized that the chosen color harmony of six colors needed to be scaled back and the image needed to settle down a bit. Althougth I loved some of the chaos of the previous stages, I was going after the feeling of something more graceful. The dominance of blue- green had gotten lost and so it needed to come back as the most dominant color so that was introduced more throughout the image again. Then I pushed the image into a more limited harmony with less colors and knocked it into a split-quad chord of only 4 colors of yellow-orange, red-orange, blue-violet and blue-green.

Because here is the interesting thing… with all my talk of “orange” over the last few weeks– there is no “true orange” in this image. If you think of orange like this pumpkin-

Then it is easy to see that the “orange” that is in the painting is really yellow-orange or red-orange. Not much true orange. The color is actually skipped on the color wheel and in the painting to keep to my selected chord. Fun, huh?

Once I locked in these 4 colors it felt a little more stable. I made sure that blue-green was dominant and that the oranges stayed in their lane.

Here is the final piece. I adjusted the head and a few minor things including bringing back some of the important diagonals I had set up at the beginning. I liked the bits of blue-violet bouncing around. I like the shape of the fish running through her, but as though it is an afterthought or a dream. It is done. At least for now. Who knows, I may ignore it for a bit and tweak it again.

“Goldfish” pastel, 20 x 16

And after all of this work and time spent on this piece I took a chance and entered it into an international show for the Masters Circle division of IAPS. And it got rejected. But don’t feel too bad for me because they took another painting, so I have this painting below included in that show. You may have seen it recently online…

“On My Mind” pastel, 16 x 15″

It is also very colorful and rather “different for me” as some are commenting….. and that’s a good thing. I have learned so much from both of these images. I am still polishing my craft. Still finding my way. And every painting and intention in a work opens up new ideas and paths to new doors that I have yet to go through. Believe it or not, I know these pieces will now help me to create even more realistic portraits. I’ll share one with you next week.

Thanks for following along on this journey with me! If something feels scary and yet it feels like something you need to do – go for it – and know I am out here with my polishing cloth and large orange pastel sticks working along beside you.


Share this!