Published on 3/10/2019
March was a particularly interesting month. There were quite a few important changes and updates. However, I'd like to make this post about one particular achievement. And that is, being able to complete a new portrait painting of Willow inspired by one of her photos I saw on Instagram. The photo was beautifully composed, even though I do not have the details of the photographer, you can find the original image on Willow Smith's Instagram.
Before I decided to paint Willow's portrait, I was working on curating photos from my travels last year to California, particularly, Los Angeles. I had also been shooting some artists and musicians I know in London, as part of a new collection. So, on a random day in March 2019, as I was scrolling through my Instagram account, I stumbled upon this photo of Willow which I thought was interesting, for two main reason. First, her hair and all the colours in her beautiful messy braids. Second, her stare was direct, beautiful and authentic. It's what I love about most of the people I paint. Natural beauty and confidence that comes from an authentic and grounded place.
So, I thought I would make a few sketches just for fun and may be do some studies as a creative exercise. Two hours later, I was having fun but knew that in order to fully complete the painting, it was going to need a lot more time and attention. After all, it was just meant to be a study and not a full fledged painting on its own. And so.. I was torn, should I spend more time working out some of the difficult areas or should I just take this as a fun exercise and limit the amount of time I spend on it, without worrying about completing the whole painting.
After about two days of going back and forth, I decided to put the painting on a square wooden board that I got from the joiners below my studio. They were kind enough to cut me a perfect square which is exactly what I wanted. And that was it, I knew that I was going to bring it to life. I worked on it few days a week, here and there. Just played around, wasn't exactly sure where I was going to go with it. But instead, decided to see where it took me.
Even erased it a few times because it didn't feel right. Eventually, after about 2-3 weeks, I suddenly started to feel one with it. There were times where the unfinished piece sat in the studio staring at me and I just... sat with it whilst working on something completely different. I left it for a few days and finally when I decided to come back to it three weeks later, it magically started to work. All the problem and challenging areas turned out to be the most fun parts of the painting.
It was a completely unplanned piece. However, I realised that the new collection that I was working on before embarking on this painting, involved musicians and artists. Guess what, Willow happens to be a musician too! ;) Funny co-incidence. So, that's the big update!! Musicians are my muse for the next collection, and I am excited to see where it takes me.
In the meantime, check out some of the detail shots of the painting here: Portrait of Willow