Untitled, 16×20, oil on canvas. Buy Now

“A portrait is a painting with something wrong with the mouth.” — John Singer Sargent

I’ve been following talented wedding photographer Mark Eric for a while now so when I saw one of his posts of a young girl with a floral crown, I asked him if I could use it as inspiration for a painting. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about why that particular image struck me. I follow several photographers whose gorgeous work daily enhances my news feeds. I don’t have many conclusions. 

This painting started as a softer brush painting, and I left it like that for quite some time. I’ve messed withed it several times over this past month, but there was always something not quite right– the mouth, the nose, the hair– my frustrations were not limited to one particular feature. I eventually took my palette knife to it in an effort to stay true to my underlying goal in this painting-a-day challenge– explore, expand. I’ve been working on it with the palette knife on and off for a few days. 

When I first started making art, it was portraits that got me excited. In high school I did a terrible drawing of my best friend Emily that somewhat resembled her, and I thought, “Yes! I’ve got immeasurable talent!”. 

I’ve gravitated away from the portrait. I’ve become both more prolific, more successful, and far more humble since then. But portraits still grab my attention. I still have a strong desire to pursue them. And this month has been about doing the things I always put off. 

When it came time to post this image, I had no clue what to name it. My mind was (and still is) mush. I’ve asked you before, and I’m asking you again because you always come through. What would you name this painting? What’s the first word or words that come to mind?