Do you hate the painting you are working on? Frustrated with it and just wanna get it “over with?” I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but anyone looking at the painting will know…

Wyeth said, “I think a person permeates a spot, and a lost presence makes the environment timeless to me, keeps an area alive. It pulsates because of that.”

I believe feelings translate into a work. Especially from the creator of it but also from the subjects in it too. Wyeth created this painting below as a portrait of a man and his dog. Eventually, in the process he removed the man and said the space and how he used his silverware (only a knife) was enough to represent him. Then the dog went away too. Notice the sharp “teeth” on the edge of the log? That is the essence of the dog. It is a great study in the psychological part of painting.

I once did a commission of a little boy about 6 years old- and he was a little terror. Uncooperative, defiant, yelling at his mom and me. The parents threatened him as I shot photos, but it was little use. I did get some good references, and I made the painting seemingly of all happiness and light. I tried to make that little kid look like an angel, but, funny thing, people over the years that have seen the painting or even a photo of it online have said to me “that kid looks like he has the devil in him, I can see it in his eyes…” Yup… sorry, I couldn’t hold back my feelings about him. (I am sure he is a darling teen now)

So if you are painting a portrait and everything is going well except maybe you are afraid to paint the eyes? It will show. Want to use bright color and yet you timidly mark only a few strokes on the painting because you are afraid it will be too much? Viewers will see it. Not every painting needs bright color or perfect “eyes”, but it does need you to be yourself. The rest is just noise. How you think and feel about what you are creating is important. Make your decisions based on that. Make your painting into stories based on that. Tackle your fear and paint what you feel.

Then we will feel it too.

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