I had a big shift in my process and my thoughts today as I began a portrait for my neighbors. This portrait is a gift for them for taking care of my fish for me while I was away on vacation to Spring Lake. I began the portrait today after feeling lost for a while in my own thoughts about painting. So I just began painting and trying to return to myself. Trying almost to turn my brain off while I paint. The main thing that I've been feeling for a very long time is that I haven't been myself. I've been trying to be someone else and paint like someone else.
The portrait that I'm currently working on is very similar to a portrait that I painted for these same neighbors back in 2013 while I was a student. I still believe it's one of the nicer paintings that I've ever done. I did it over the course of 4 or 5 days and it's always been a guiding light for me to return to. I think a big thing is that I've been hurrying my paintings too much lately, instead of letting them rest and working in a few layers. I got too caught up in the whole alla prima recipe, which I still love but it's not the best way for me to work.
It's so difficult to just listen to your own voice when other influences are so strong. It's like the whole process is stripping away all these layers to just get back to the core of who I was and who I am. I know that I can only do my best work in this manner. It's funny how you have to go backwards to go forwards sometimes.