Portrait commissions and despair

Kitchen garden in the village.

Desperate portrait painter working in the vegetable garden.

Portrait painting is my daily job. But don´t think that everything always runs smoothly for me. It sometimes happens to me that a portrait fails. In the case of a commission it is a big problem. Of course over the years I have developed a routine wherein I, step by step, can detect a possible problem and fix it. Needless to say, that belongs to my profession. But sometimes it happens that I desperately wonder how to proceed when I find my self in deep trouble.

Once I was in such despair that I decided to destroy the portrait on my easel. Eventually I realized that that was ridiculous. After a while I decided to start over again the next day. I went into the garden to work and have some distraction. Then, when I came back in my studio, I saw the abortive work on the easel. As the painting already was screwed up I decided, I could just haphazardly do some muddling.

And what was the result? In fifteen minutes the portrait was back on track and after an hour it was finished! I was satisfied and later certainly the customer was.

What now is the essence of my story? (Evident of course): If you tend to get stuck do not despair but take distance and relax. The solution may be within reach, but you don´t see it because you’re so wired up.

Sheer willpower can sometimes be destructive!

    Posted in About painting, Our kitchen garden, Portrait commission, Portrait painting as a business, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

    Too young for books?

    Zo leer je Tekenen. by Tjomme de Vries.

    My first book. Zo leer je Tekenen. Tjomme de Vries. 1962.

    In addition to my previous post.

    I was a young kid, maybe ten years old. I really wanted to learn to draw. I practised a lot. But I already knew that exercise alone was not enough. I would also have to purchase study books. However it still took some years before I would convert my plan into action. Money was scarce at our house: we were eight children. Eight mouths to be fed; eight children to be clothed. One day, the sixties had dawned and a fledging financial relief appeared on the horizon: I received my initial pocket money! (The first 10 cents I spent on a bag of new nails. I liked carpentry and was tired of straightening and reusing the rusty, bent nails as my father showed me.)

    After months and months of saving I gathered enough capital to proceed with the purchase. I remember I walked into the book store. I went straight to the small section arts and crafts, right to the book that I had already browsed through so many times: ZO LEER JE TEKENEN (This way you learn how to draw).  I settled the bill,  the book was neatly packed, and I left the shop. Proud as a peacock I went home.

    I really don´t remember if I studied a lot from that book. I will have examined the pictures, but much text I will have skipped. I had mild difficulty with written text. And for many theories I was too impatient. Still the book is in my library and occasionally I look through it. The work is far too difficult for a young kid, I know now. Later genuine drawing skills I learned from Beatus Nijs. I am still grateful to have had the opportunity to follow his classes.  (see below)

    Quick drawing of a live model

    Male nude. charcoal drawing.

    nude study

    Female nude. charcoal drawing.

      Posted in Books, Long time ago, Sketch & drawing, Uncategorized | Leave a comment