“The artist uses the talent he has, wishing he had more talent. The talent uses the artist it has, wishing it had more artist.”

—Robert Brault

I first set out to paint my grandfather’s portrait back on December 21, 2016. Aside from a self-portrait assignment in college, this is the first one I have ever attempted. It’s likely the most difficult art-related thing I have ever done.

I am using all the talent I have.

I am constantly asking myself questions while painting. Am I getting the colors right? Are the shadows lining up with the light source? Is his face going to look like a ball of mud? I am learning that skin tone is one of the more difficult things to get right and that faces are hard to paint! I am also constantly afraid I am going to mess the whole thing up with one flick of the wrist, one runaway drip of paint.

It’s been almost two months since I started this project, but I have been a bit lazy about it—I have gone weeks without touching the canvas. It takes both time and strong motivation to get myself in the zone. Thankfully, the snow has been a great asset by forcing me to stay inside and get some work done.

I created an animated gif of the progress so far. I still have a long way to go, but here is where I am as of today:


One challenge that I think many artists have is knowing when something is finished…when to walk away and say “I am done.” I know I am not done yet, but I hope to be soon.