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Face the fear

Updated: Oct 17, 2022

My relationship with portraiture has changed.

When it comes to the subject of a painting, I pride myself on giving anything a go.

But I would always shy away from faces, based on an assumption I couldn't do faces, even though I'd never tried.

It was the fear of failure that had closed it off to me. But I'd never painted horses before I created Jump. So why was this any different?

So it was during a chance trip to Edinburgh's National Portrait Gallery that I started toying with the idea of trying a quick self-portrait, to prove it one way or the other.

And then fate intervened and a commission came in that forced my hand. It involved not only a face but three of them! Three little faces. Three children bouncing on a trampoline in a state of excitement. And so I could no longer skirt around the issue.

The self-portrait kind of worked, to my surprise, well it received a good reception from others anyway (except my daughter, who still hates it to this day!) At least it gave me the confidence that my treatment of faces was not an automatic deal-breaker.

Have completed a few more self-portraits since that first one in 2018, and my progress over the years is noticeable to me.

So the lesson for me here was take on the challenge, harness the fear of failure and turn it into a positive, an excitement for new possibilities.

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