Now, one of the questions I often get asked at exhibitions and shows is 'do I ever get a portrait wrong'? And the answer is 'hell, yeah!'
Thankfully, not too often, but sometimes things don't work. The art mojo isn't there, or the colour's wrong, the reference picture isn't working out, or sometimes there's no logical reason for it, I just mess up and the picture just - well - sucks.
And that's what happened with Jack, I've ended up doing him twice - which is why it took so long.
From pretty much the first couple of hours work, I wasn't happy with Jack's picture. I kept walking away from it, and going back to it, tinkering with it, fiddling and faddling and trying to rescue it, and I actually worked through until I more or less finished the picture.
And I hated it.
There were a couple of reasons for this. I made a poor choice with the paper, both in colour and texture. The colour was grey, and the picture looked as if it was receding into the background. Also, it was too heavily textured, and the grain of the paper was showing through the picture. Then, I didn't have the right shade of brown, so I ended up using about three or four different shades of brown and grey to match the colour, and the picture ended up looking like a patchwork. As the picture progressed, I got more and more frustrated, and less and less invested in the picture and it ended up a blurred, dead-eyed, thick-necked mess.
So, Saturday morning, I started all over again, on a cream paper, with far less tooth. I bought some pastel pencils in burnt umber, and which was a much better colour match.
I've worked through most of the weekend, and it all worked fine this time. The cream paper made the colour pop, and I'm so much happier with it!
And this was the reject picture!