I have a commissioned portrait I’m working on. I sometimes do a couple of versions of the portrait and then choose the one I think most captures the person. I typically create these portraits in charcoal or pastel. But I have a hankerin’ to work with watercolor on this one. At least to TRY it. I’ve never really tackled a full on portrait of someone in watercolor, so I don’t have a heap of confidence. At least not about whether there will be any LIKENESS to the person I’m supposed to be painting. I often have fits of unease about whether I can actually draw or paint, and when I’m lacking in confidence to begin, here’s what I do:
I mess around. Seriously. I tell myself I’m just gonna play around with the paints, pastels, or charcoal, nothing serious, nothing that has to sell. I TELL myself I’m just playing, doodling, smooshing paint around. And it helps me so much! Somehow, I feel buoyed up by the sense of play and then I’m ready to begin the portrait. This little sketch is of my niece (NOT the person I’m to paint for the commission). The trick is to continue telling myself I’m just messing around, even when I officially start the actual commissioned portrait. I tell myself this is only paper, it is only draft number one of however many it takes, if watercolor is a disaster, I’ll go back to pastel. Pressure eases and I can begin. I think I’m ready now.