Pretty & Interesting Portraiture

So the plan was to paint my beautiful delphiniums - I just love the incredible colours of this statuesque perennial!

But I did the sketch above, and two small studies, and was bored. So bored! They were pretty and all, but they didn't say anything.

So I've been working instead on something that scares the heck out of me - portraits. Just sketching, really, and nothing is turning out to look like my subject, but watercolor is a great medium for lively portraits.

Painting my daughter's lovely blue eyes lined with sooty black lashes has me wanting to update my own eye look with a black eyeliner.

I am going for a loose, sketchy feel so I don't want to draw in the features, but I think my proportions could have stood for some measuring and at least a few pencil lines. Her nose is too long and her deep set eyes are a challenge. How to get a pensive look without it reading as sadness or anger?

I like this sketch for its design qualities - very simple, just a suggestion of jawline and nose and a gleam of teeth. But the darks in the eyes ran a little more than I wanted and the whole eye is dark, without the beautiful teal of the first painting.

Branching out and trying something different and "scary" has given me more ideas and they are a lot more interesting than just painting "pretty." Don't get me wrong, I like pretty. Beautiful will always be a big part of why I paint, but "pretty and interesting" trumps just "pretty" every time.