Only the Noses Nose

Brads Girls Ab FINAL resized

It’s been quite a while since I painted a portrait, years actually, so I approached this commission with a bit of caution and a lot of worry.  I picked the best photo out of the pictures that were sent to me and started to draw. This particular photo was not a high-resolution photo so it was a bit difficult to actually see into it (you pastel artists will know what I mean). It was a picture of two beautiful little girls – both with smirky little grins on their faces and a tumble of arms and hair everywhere. I adjusted the drawing a bit so the arms didn’t lead off the edge and began painting. Well, I thought I had finished the painting only to discover the noses just didn’t look right. Too long I thought to myself? After struggling with redoing those noses over and over, I sent a photo of the painting for critique to a friend who is very good at painting portraits. Yep, her advice was about what I had thought it would be, but putting the advice in motion and getting it right was a different matter. I think I must have spent two more days on those noses and I still am not thrilled with them. Of course, along this journey I kept seeing other things I thought needed improvement, so I reworked the eyes, mouths and cheeks. It just never ended. I tried the look in the mirror trick, the squinting theory and still could not get it right. I had become another victim of the “never ending painting” everyone dreads. And now that I look at the finished product (really?) and the stages leading up to it, I think I liked it better in the beginning – except for those noses!  ….and maybe the eyebrows…..

The final, and I mean final, is above – two of the many many steps are below.

Brads Girls Final resized

Brads Girls 1 resized



  1. Working from inadequate photos makes the commission hard. The coolness of the paper in the first version may be why you like it better, but it’s an excellent job.

    • artfulsharon says:

      I think you are correct about the coolness of the paper Carolyn. The original background was quite a bit brighter as I was trying to bring in the clothing colors (big mistake) and I had to bring it down a lot – it’s still very warm but I’m too lazy to change it all. Thanks for the comments and critique Carolyn.

  2. Liz Czerewaty says:

    Great job! And a portrait of 2 vs 1 subject…always a brave undertaking !

  3. Love this. They’re adorable and you captured some awesome personalities!

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