Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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04/24/2005: "Regression Theory"

Ever since I was in middle school I had a talent for capturing faces. Portraits were my favorite subject matter and people said I had a real nack for captuing a person's essence. So, you will understad why I'm freaking out that suddenly I can't seem to paint them.

I worked on the woman playing the fiddle this weekend and the entire painting looks great except for the woman's face. It has gone through many incarnations from goofy, to sleepy, to downright evil & alienesque (which is what she looks like now). It's really bothering me because it's the one thing I'd like to believe I'm consistent at painting.

So, I decided to give that painting a rest today and work on the face of the (formerly) harmonica playing woman instead, and I F#@*%#! that one up as well! I can't for the life of me figure out what's wrong with the features that they just don't look natural. They are both so terrible I'm actually too ashamed to post them for your advice.

I can't remember the last time I've had such wonky, all over the place abilities. I wonder if all artists go through periods where things they used to be able to do easily suddenly seem foreign? I mean, this is different than a creative block, it's not that I don't have ideas or can't paint...I can, I just stink at it.

Here's a new mystery image:

mystery3 (25k image)

Replies: 12 Comments

on Monday, April 25th, Rick the Armadillo said

When stuck I do one of two things:

1) Drink a little bit too much and give it a go. I find the alcohol cuts through the hesitation and the mental second-guessing.

2) Put it away until I feel like working on it again. Once, I did this for a year.

Of course, I'm not a professional and I don't have to complete paintings in order to put beans on the table, so what do I know.

Since I am commenting: I have been enjoying your blog for many months. It is inspiring to me.


on Monday, April 25th, Elise said

Thanks Rick, getting a nice buzz on does help sometimes, and putting these away for a long time might work, but I tend to not finish things I put away.
So, I just stopped by your site and attempted to read your sounds great though I admit I only understood about every 5th word.

Congratulations on getting published!

on Tuesday, April 26th, holly said

Is it your hair screaming out for a new conditioner?

on Tuesday, April 26th, Elise said

LOL, No, but good guess! my real hair probably looks even worse.

on Thursday, April 28th, holly said

Trees on fire and out of focus?

on Thursday, April 28th, Elise said

That's getting much closer actually. I'll tell ya if ya give...

on Friday, April 29th, holly said

Yes! I give! It's some form of plant, but I can't tell what. (a sunset?) These drive me nuts! But in a good way...

on Friday, April 29th, Elise said

Hee hee, maybe this will make it easier:

moon-rise-through-trees (60k image)

on Saturday, April 30th, holly said

You're a rabbit?!?!?

on Saturday, April 30th, Elise said


I'm sure that was very witty I jus don't get it!

Anyway, tis the moon rising through the trees behind my house. It was very dark out and the moon was very red.

on Monday, May 2nd, holly said

Wow- that was very Escher. The rabbit comment was because, to me, it looked like you shot a big, flaming sky from a little hole in the ground. Now that I know what it is, it makes perfect sense, but I really was wondering how you got yourself into such a tiny hole!

on Monday, May 2nd, Elise said

That's funny! I can totally see why you thought that.

It's interesting how we attempt to create a context for everything, and how wrong we often are, and how obvious it seems once we're set straight!