Quick capture reveals a relaxing core.

5" x 7" watercolor sketch of a young man who has just arrived to America in 1849.
5″ x 7″ watercolor sketch of a young man who has just arrived to America in 1849.

What a busy time it has been these last 5 weeks. I have been highly focused and hard at work in both of my loved professions, doing all that I can to avoid neglecting either one, and actually doing my very best to raise the bar instead. Balance is never easy but I am holding my own and managing to find some successes in each, bringing me a great deal of joy along the way. In late May I was invigorated by taking a week-long driving trip that included research for a portrait I am doing of a notable person -a commission- and showing my painting progress to two of the patrons involved. It was a good trip, although it became clear that going back to the drawing board was in order since I was not capturing the true essence of the woman effectively. The trip served as a very much needed vacation so I came home happy and motivated. From that I have gone from occasions of historical painting on site, to a full immersion at a national library conference, and back to painting in the field…all the while keeping up the necessary rigor of day to day affairs.

Just a small portion of the face to show the loose painting style.
Click on the image to enlarge this small portion of the face to show the loose painting style.

This kind of fast paced lifestyle can actually be quite effective in revving up a waning artistic inertia. The last several days I have been in an encampment, talking to the public and doing simple watercolors. I could feel the relaxation of the setting and the ability to work off and on for days begin to relax my painting style. This is exactly what I needed. Doing the quick, light watercolor captures of images began to change the strokes themselves and I liked what I began to see happening. This is exactly what I believe will add the necessary life to the portrait of the woman.


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