The feedback for my recent portrait of Lyrea has been astounding. Many people have said it is my best work yet and has illustrated a marked evolution in my skills as a painter. Indeed, even I was surprised how I pulled that one off quite honestly. But as most artists, you can't rest on your own laurels for too long and it doesn't take long before you want to find ways to improve. As fond as I am of the portrait, it felt as though it were lacking something in the way of life. Perhaps it was too refined and just not painterly enough. This led me to the experimentation seen above with this portrait of my good and patient friend Anastasia.
Instead of oil, I used acrylic; instead of minute attention to detail, I chose broad strokes; instead of labouring over the drawing through various stages, I just eye-balled it. The result is something that I managed to finish in a much shorter time than it took to complete the last portrait of Lyrea. It does not look as realistic and almost cartoonish in a way, but it was for me a much more satisfying process. I am not one to enjoy watching paint dry and I truly enjoyed making the vigorous strokes. The acrylic paint allowed me to be as haphazard as I pleased. I wonder though if the use of oil paint would have produced more realistic results. Time will tell.
As for the pose itself, I had done some sketches and took a few photos from my friend's recent visit and there was something about this expression that really spoke to me. Definitely more sombre, but with the slightest mischievous grin. Perhaps not as flattering but so much more alive and honest. I look forward to continuing the tread.