Time to explore! In art, we call that creating a study, which is made simply in order to try new things while not being attached to the outcome.
Portraits are tricky. I intentionally did not try and replicate the face in the reference photo I was using. I used different hair and bone structure in parts. Now that I'm looking at it again, it kind of looks like a cross between Kim Kardashian and Michelle Obama - which isn't exactly what I was going for, but also not-not what I was going for either, because I wasn't going for anything in particular. :-)
In this study, I'm experimenting with techniques, but also concepts. I wanted to try out a different type of background and costume design. Those were fun. I also tried a different method for using brighter colors in skin tones, which I think went well.
I'm also using this study to play with the idea of what it means to me to paint the feminine. I don't want to portray women as simply an object of beauty, but to create more strength, wisdom, depth, and complexity in their character. I think I still have a way to go with that, but maybe just by viewing the work form that perspective, it gives us more to think about. Maybe the cross between Kim Kardashian and Michelle Obama is the perfect metaphor for combining strength, vulnerability, brains, and beauty into one portrait. Hmm... Interesting.
I hope to create a class once I develop these themes a little further, but in the mean time, you're welcome to check out classes and workshops that are coming up!