“That Poor Girl”

Time now for another of my “cringe-worthy failures”.

When I began learning to draw, I looked forward to the day when I could draw the human figure. I’ve always been fascinated by anatomy, and while I’m not a great “figurative” artist, I enjoy the sketches I do.

In similar fashion, when I began oil painting in 2016, I looked forward to figure painting… someday. The idea was rather intimidating, but finally, after 3-1/2 years of experience, I felt I’d finally become proficient enough with a paintbrush to at least give it a try.

So, I browsed around and found a video tutorial that looked interesting. I watched it, then eagerly prepared my paints and other supplies. I couldn’t wait to get started!

Slouching (2)My painting, needless to say, is not a work of art, but as a first-ever attempt at painting a human form, I think it shows some promise. And, most of all, it was fun.

Obviously there are proportion problems. Her neck disappeared somewhere in layers of paint, and speaking of layers of paint, oh my goodness, I painted and repainted her face so many times she’s taken on the appearance of some weird gray-skinned alien.

She’s slouching. Badly. Sit up, dear! Slouching is not good for the figure! It’s not good for figure-painting either, so maybe my next attempt will be better.

When I re-watched the video and followed along, I only went about half-way. At that point the artist was getting into very technical details, like how to suggest the toes on the feet. What toes? Better yet, what feet?

Still, it’s not all bad. I did give the girl a navel, and she has knees!

Oh, dear. My husband just came to the studio and saw her. Even he — my biggest and most supportive fan — could only offer a “Well, you’re trying,” comment. Later, as he walked away, he laughed and muttered “Poor girl,” under his breath. I heard that!

Part of my difficulty in executing this first figure-painting involves process. Watching a video demonstration required that I follow that artist’s process,  and while it obviously works well for him, I’m not sure it’s the approach that’s best for me. Which means I’ll be trying a lot of different things as I explore figure-painting. Which means, in turn, that you’ll probably be seeing a lot more misshapen, slouching figures with alien skin.

Despite its flaws, I’m happy with this painting, or well, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m happy I made this painting. It’s something I’ve wanted to try for a long time, and now, I’ve done it. Yes, it was fun, and yes, I look forward to doing it again. I will get better. I promise.





  1. I like it! (Of course!) It’s really expressive. When I was a very little girl (around 3-5), I often thought in art. And when I thought pictures to express some of the helplessness and misunderstanding I experienced as a little girl, the visual language I chose, in color, shade, and composition, looked a lot like this figure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was excited to finally try it. I knew it would be awful, but I had to see what I could do. It’s a starting point. From here, I can definitely get better!


  2. I think it’s beautiful, there’s so much wonder and uniqueness in painted bodies that are not autonomically correct. I know it wasn’t your intention, but I honestly still find is captivating!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much. I’m learning to truly love and appreciate all the imperfections in art. My “poor girl” is definitely one of a kind, and that does make her special. Maybe next time my proportions will be a little better… or maybe not. Either way, painting is fun, especially when I don’t get too concerned with results.

      Liked by 1 person

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