I've been asked many times if I have tried to translate my loose style into portraiture. Until recently, I haven't dared to, since I was afraid that when I loosened things up, I'd lose the likeness of my sitter. I watched two of the best in person-- Jeff Watts and Carolyn Anderson as they painted portraits from life that were loose and interpretive. "Nice for them", I thought. But I'll never be able to do that!
Then I tried something completely new. I painted these two portraits using only a very small round brush (#1, can you believe it?). I scratched the poor thing down to the nub, but I learned that I can use paint in much the same way I can use a drawing medium, such as charcoal or pastel. If I started to get tight, I'd use the brush to scratch away at the hard edges.
As for the likeness, I found that as long as I have the eyes, nose and mouth in the right place, I could be pretty interpretive with the rest of the painting. It's a baby step, but it was fun, and I'm ready to do some more!