Abner did this one with me.*
I'm not sure why, but I can really relax and whale away at my own face on the page. I'm more free playing around, and I have a better idea what I'm after. Is it because there is no one and nothing to offend? That's not totally true - there are others who might be upset at my face rendered oddly. So what is it? Familiarity with my subject? Thirty plus years of shaving this face in the mirror (the parts without the beard and mustache still need shaving) makes me an expert on this set of shapes?
One thing that really opened me up, compared to the subjects I've been attempting lately, was the scale. Larger objects, commanding the space. Like the Toad painting, below, done over a year ago now.
And I was inspired by the really impressive drawings (regardless of the tools done to render them) in the credits for Sherlock Holmes. The artist(s) involved in those did an amazing job picking stills to work from, and then turned them into 19th century engraving style, but modern croppings and compositions. I found the combination and the lovely blacks and strong contrast arresting and exciting. It made me want to do faces, up close.
Maybe I should work with some photos of strangers, and have an even more free time?
Anyway, this made me feel better than I've felt in weeks.
19 x 19 watercolor, white charcoal, and Prismacolor on Arches hot press.
* Abner is my older Cotman size 12 watercolor brush. He has less of a point than Louise has.