I started another in the Portrait Series today - oil stick on encaustic using a tetrachromy palette - and struggled with it all afternoon. At first it was the difficulty of painting on the smooth encaustic background. It's so smooth that it's like trying to paint on glass. The least bit of pressure with the brush and the paint is simply wiped off. Changes in brushes and pressure helped. Then there was the rude awakening that comes from forgetting the cardinal rule in painting portraits - you have to know the shape and angle of the face, where the features go and how they relate to one another. I painted two beautiful eyes, but they clearly belonged to two very different people. They were both beautiful renderings - not overworked and very expressive - and I wanted to keep them. But clearly one of them had to be reworked. My next attempt made the subject look very Asian - but only in one eye - and that was very disturbing. Again, I was very happy with the way I'd painted the eye, but ... it had to go. Now came the trap of obsessing over the "Difficult Eye" and I worked on it much too long and stopped cycling through the painting.... and it's still not right. Although it was a challenging afternoon, I got a good start on the painting and a better start on remembering how to paint portraits.... Take the time to make an accurate sketch; do a quick study to work out the challenges with the media and the color harmonies; stop obsessing on one feature and cycle through the painting; breathe. And in the morning, I'll look at the painting with fresh eyes. And I'll post the finished portrait here.