I'm starting to do portraits for my own pleasure. I feel incredibly lucky to be busy with commissioned work, but I put so much pressure on myself to do them a certain way that I end up being unsatisfied, even when the client is perfectly happy.
I don't know how to break free of that, except to do a whole bunch of work that isn't automatically waiting for approval, even if it's only in my mind.
This was a good start:
I saw the photo on a friend's page, of herself as a little girl, taken by her father. It has the cool liquid light of film from the 1970s, and the expression in her eyes is positively disarming.
I don't think I did the photo justice, but for once I was focusing instead on what kind of painting it would make. This kind of departure is good.
I have been chafing against my own limits for so long, and it finally feels like I'm doing the work that will expand them.