In these moments, I've generally done one of two things: either I sucked it up and powered through or I put away the brushes and went into the house. I made a different choice last night. In a flash of creative desire, I grabbed a small canvas and quickly added colours: yellow, red, pink, lime and blue. I set it aside to dry for a few minutes and returned to my commission project, already recharged, just by shaking things up.
I glanced up at my inspiration wall and saw the visage of Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi staring down at me.
"Yup," I said to myself. "He'll be perfect."
I put a dollop of Payne's grey on my pallete, grabbed a half-inch angle brush and began chiselling out the features of Nenshi's face, glasses, hair, tie and suit over top the bright underlay of colours. From there I added some skin tones, contrasting hues of turquoise, sea green, light magenta and blue.
It was a very quick study, maybe 20 or 30 minutes from start to finish, but it was exactly what I needed to recharge my batteries.
Allison, a fellow artist, reached out after I posted the above image, said some kind things about it, and suggested that if I adjusted the top chin line and brought it down, it would elongate things to make it more representative. Excellent call! That small adjustment made quite a difference.
I suspect that I will return to Nenshi again, maybe when I hit another wall. I am a fan, so that helps drive the inspiration. Warhol did soup cans; I've been doing Frankenstein monsters. Maybe it's time to move to Nenshis.