Secrets of my Artistic Process

I start with a face that inspires me.

People inspire me for different reasons…for their beliefs, their strength, their compassion and kindness, or maybe their talent or just simply their physical beauty. The project I’m working on now I’ve chosen a group of Americans who have moved me with their honesty, their bravery and their spirit.

When I draw a face that inspires me…I feel connected to them. I feel a connection to those traits that I’m attracted to in them and that drives me….hoping that by somehow capturing them I will draw those traits into myself.

The initial lines on the paper are crap. I measure out the eyes, nostrils and mouth with my fingers and do a rough laying out of the land. Many times I have considered tossing that first sketch. I do it with a black brush tip marker that cannot be erased or removed…those first lines are disheartening…A ‘what’s the point’ moment always occurs. But I have learned to ignore it. To understand it, accept it, and push through….


It’s amateurish. But anyway, as I mentioned…I push through.

And then over a couple hours of blending colours one at a time, scribbling in shapes and colours I see, being patient and believing that it will come together…it just kind of does…


She’s starting to look like her and my confidence grows as does my inspiration and excitement to finish it.

Of course, it helps that I’m drawing someone who knows about it. I have some accountability. I also have a show coming up…so there’s that pressure as well. I enjoy revealing my pieces to my subjects… ‘MY’. Like somehow it is comforting to take a bit of ownership of these people who have not only brought me inspiration but have also graciously agreed to allow me to recreate their beauty. (Guess that helps to build my confidence)

But there it is. That’s what I’ve been working on since last September…slowly and very cautiously. Actually it’s terrified me for months. Originally I planned after doing a whole bunch of practice sketches, that I would try to complete at least two a month. It’s the end of May now and I only have six completed…mostly. The fear is subsiding due to the pressure and stress of the upcoming show. Nothing like a deadline to get you working.

I would really love to post the next stages of this beautiful lady’s portrait but…well…you’ll have to come to the show.


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