Last summer a friend of mine gave me some simple advice about how to approach painting:
Take it easy, he said.
I was in a horrible mood, grumpy from a day of fighting with paint, so I did NOT want to hear it. I was determined to learn things the hard way.
But of course he was right, and I think I am just now catching on.
I used to feel too rushed to do a study for each portrait, and the result was that I would put more pressure on myself to get it right the first time -- ironically creating more work by incessantly "fixing" the places I'd messed up.
Now I really see the value of the study, not least because that's where I take it easy:
And that feeling of looseness and spontaneity might be more important than getting the nose just right.