Will I Ever Be Happy?

Posted March 01 2015

Submitted by: Lynn Powers

I've been focusing on watercolor portraits for a couple of years. I'm happy to say, I've seen progress. Recently I've even been able to detect a style developing. Not too long ago I would have doubted that ever happening. Now I want the portraits to be more than just a face. I want the painting to be a statement about the personality of the sitter. Plus I want to figure out what to do with the background. Even if I figure that out, I'm sure I won't be completely satisfied.

One might ask, "Will she ever be happy with her paintings?!"

The quick answer is, no, not completely. Sometime my paintings surprise me, even delight me. It's as though I've been along for a ride just to see where they take me. The destinations have been getting more pleasant. But each beginning brings with it that same white sheet of paper and the second guessing. Will that ever go away?

Portrait painter Mary Whyte said that it never gets easy. As we improve, our sights rise to the next level. We must find satisfaction with the process.

Once I was asked why I painted portraits. Indeed portraits are too personal to be great for selling: "No one wants a face of a stranger in their home." I had no answer. Why indeed do I paint people. Here's Mary Whyte's answer. I think she hits the mark:  "Spending time painting the people around you not only offers a glimpse into how other people live and think, but it can give you the opportunity to experience the world in a way that is much more personal and fulfilling. Painting another human being with emotion and sensitivity not only clarifies what you know about living in today's world but also how you feel about it."

Mary adds that the best and most lasting portraits contain traits universal to all humanity.

Yes Mary. Looks like I won't be completely satisfied for many year, if ever.