This particular painting I will never finish. I saw this woman many years ago around my town and was struck by her pretty and unusual looks and I thought I’d like to do a portrait of her. A few years later, our children ended up at the same preschool and we became friends. She posed for me and I did some drawings, but was completely frustrated because I just couldn’t get them right.
A year ago I decided to try again and asked her to sit for some photos and chose a profile shot to work from. I hadn’t seen her in a while when I started work on this portrait. I was feeling pretty proud of my ability to get it right this time when I decided to take a break and go to the store. There she was at the store wearing the exact same blue shirt and while we chatted, I thought, “forget it, I got it all wrong, the painting completely sucks.” I haven’t touched it since.
The likeness isn’t so off, it’s just there’s something indefinable missing. It occured to me she has this easy laugh and great vivacious spirit, but since I usually paint pretty somber paintings, I’d have to paint a completely different kind of portrait to get it right. Maybe something like this from the Museum of Bad Art? The artist of this work seems happy to be included in the collection. Good for him. I'm sure he had fun painting this and felt no angst or frustration. Wired magazine has a fun article on the history of the museum, or MOBA as it's called. They seem very particular about their submission process, not any old bad art will do. If you have a painted monstrosity made by your favorite Uncle Earl, can't stomach it in you house but feel too guilty of throwing it in the trash, it may feel right at home at this museum.