This portrait of Em is an example of one of those drawings/paintings that goes wrong from the beginning and I just had to resolve to keep going and learn what I could from the process.

I made a huge absentminded error once I’d finished my line drawing by forgetting I was working in my watercolour sketchbook and intended to use watercolour for my base colour. I started to add shadow with a Copic marker and realised my mistake as soon as I’d drawn a line – you can see that line moving down the forehead above the right eyebrow!

My initial instinct was to abandon the portrait at that point but then I decided I would carry on, enjoy the process and see what I could learn from trying to disguise my grey-pink Copic line. So I painted on with watercolour and then added coloured pencil. I don’t think you would see that line unless you know it’s there and look for it so I’m happy with what I did in the end.

But the entire portrait is not quite right. That error early on was a sign of my mind being not fully focused on my drawing, which is how it is right now.


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I love drawing things. These days I am rarely found without a pen, pencil or stylus in my hands. In my working life I spend a lot of time in meetings and classrooms, reading papers and strategies, so my home life provides a creative antidote to all that! I also have chronic pain, lots of it. I have scoliosis, fibromyalgia and CRPS, so my life is a balancing act, trying to balance work, which make me feel part of the real world, with pain, which is ever present, and art, which soothes my pain.

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