I am not completely satisfied with the portrait. I wanted it to be more smooth, more realistic, cleaner. No matter how much time I put into it, the project demanded more. No matter how hard I worked, it was never enough. I think I put in at least five or six hours outside of class, which is a lot considering that I had other things to do. Ultimately, there was only so much I could put into the project of an elective in which I had already secured a good grade. It felt unwieldy, burdensome. It would have been soothing if I had not been worried about getting it done. My memory of the last couple of weeks is fuzzy, but I recall realizing that something had gone wrong with the lines of the chin.
I had measured wrong. It all got clearer once I had the eye sockets in place. Somehow, measuring from the nose and lips worked less well for me. Once I had the chin fixed, it was too long and angled wrong, everything else looked more proportional. That happened outside of class. I drew lines to mark it. I was not supposed to do that, but I needed to know where the chin was. The due date was looming. At a certain point, most of the rules fell away.
I added charcoal to draw in the eyebrows. I knew I was not supposed to do that, but I wanted to pay attention to how the forehead worked, get everything in the right place, before I tried to deal with hair on it. I had trouble getting the eraser thin enough to create the appearance of individual hairs and was too pressed for time to make a specialized tool. It was what it was. I gave the impression of fuzzy eyebrows as best I could.
I worked hard on the shadows, but that gave the face a choppy, dis-unified, impressionistic feel. The skin was a patchwork of varying values, not smooth flesh. I tried to fix that, but I ultimately had to turn it in. I worked hard on making the lines of the eyes right, but that made their edges fuzzy and confused. From a distance, my efforts to draw the bottom of my glasses on one side are invisible. As hard as I tried, the width of the nose and the placement of one eye never looked right. However, I feel like I did well with the hair. I captured an expression that made the face mine. Patches of light and shadow clash, rather than flowing smoothly, but they are mostly in the right places. The forehead is too dark, but the highlights are correctly positioned given the expression. I am proud of the time and effort I put in, especially with everything else going on. I am proud of my decision to take an extra hour to give it an expression on the last night of the project with exams looming and other things due. However, this was a difficult project, more interesting than the form blocks but frustrating to the end, nerve-wracking at times as I worried about how to get it done.