evolution of a likeness

I got a Christmas present/portrait commission but had to keep it a secret so I couldn't post about it until after the holidays were over. I really like how it came out, it's quality in person and the color. I used the painting as an excuse to experiment with getting to a likeness. That's always the dilemma when working with photo reference because the photo is "just right" and can be a stumbling block to enjoying the process. So I painted the portrait in three major movements, the first in acrylic and with absolutely no regard for being right, just be fearless and free, slap the paint on, and eyeball it. They say close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, but it also counts in painting! I let some time pass and then jumped back on it with some bold moves in the drawing and then went over with opaque oil, forcefully moving the colors to conform to the closer line. Finally when that dried I refined the drawing some more gave it a last coat of paint, and found myself done! It was a pleasing way to go about things because there was never that feeling of constraint that can come with 'likeness'.

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