And then I effectively ruined the painting.

comments: 46

When I got to the face. I hate painting!!! [sobs plaintively]


oooh, so sorry... what happened? Would you share so we can learn from it? I was so looking forward to seeing the painting... (next time do the "hard part" first?) I hope you will try another, you were so excited yesterday!!

Aw! I think it's time to put down the paint brush and pet the puppy. I feel certain Clover Meadow will make everything better.

awww...hugs. Give clover a snuggle and then keep trying! xx

oh no!! dear me. i'm so sorry. just know you are not alone. i have ruined many paintings. when you feel better about it all, try again!

Oh no! Take a break, have some hot chocolate, and come back to it later!

oh shoot! maybe a break will help you look at it with fresh eyes and a new perspective.

Rats! Hate it when that happens...

The beauty of acrylic paints is that you can just go over and over it once they're dry. Come back to it fresh tomorrow and it won't look as bad as you think. Promise :D

gesso is your friend!

Aww, I'm sorry. Faces are always the hardest to do. :o(

I was nervous for you to do the face. I would have had a hard time with that too. I'm thinking you should do everything except for the face. I am sorry. I love that you were so enthusiastic about this project though! You are awesome!

Dearest Alicia, Don't despair! I understand completely. I've always been more comfortable with 3D like projects, working in fabric, clay, paper mache, crocheting, etc. When it came to 2D applications like drawing and painting; watercolor, acrylic or oils and trying to make things look real, I always struggled a bit. Then I took some drawing and painting classes from Mission-Renaissance Art Schools and I improved dramatically. The classes weren't cheap but worth it. There isn't a studio up there where you are but you could purchase some of the DVD's they have for sale and work at your own pace. It is a gradient approach to learning and you will build confidence for sure. There are certain techniques (technology)to making things look 3D and real on paper or canvas, it's not a mystery! Check it out at My daughter started taking lessons at 8yrs through Jr.High and her drawings and paintings were amazing. I wish I had some pictures to show you. Remember, practice makes perfect? Hmm, persistance, too. Chin up!

Oh, no! I was worried about that face, I must admit. Not because of your skills, but because I know that I, myself, would ruin the face.

But perhaps it's still fixable? Show it to us -- maybe we'll have ideas for you!

don't give up! step away and come back later.

Hang in there and don't give up! When I'm feeling frustrated with a painting, a little dark chocolate always helps.

Don't fret! Maybe you didn't ruin it!
We're all our own worst critics. I have faith in you!

A clever idea still!!

I had seen the MS glitter version and thought it cool, so when I saw your paint-by-number idea the very next day on your blog, I thought you were very clever and still do. Good luck with your next try :)

Maybe you could do something cool like cut out the ruined part and replace it with the photograph - a collage of sorts...? Maybe?...

Zoinks! What a great idea to paint this way, and don't despair. One of the things I've found helpful-if you haven't crammed your painting into the trash during a sobbing fit that led to a drinking binge (alcohol, coffee, hot tea, whatever), get some dark chocolate & turn on some James Taylor. Let James talk to you, and turn the painting so that the face is upside down from your perspective. For some reason, when you can make that part less familiar-even if it takes covering up all but a small section at a time, so it looks like topography lines & not "face,"-when you can psyche yourself out of it, you can fix it. And acrylic is great for that-so opaque, like a good friend should be when you make a mistake! Oh good luck girlie!

oh no! too bad!

Oh Alicia, I admire that you tried. You'll get it, but I know exactly what you mean. I've made dolls and always do the face last and honestly, sometimes, it's just best to start over again fresh. Yes, it's a lot of work up to that point, but it just has to suit me or I'll never be happy with it. Maybe do just the rest of it and not the face, would that work or not? Anyway, your picture looked great to me. I'm sure, also, that you learned something from that to help you next time. PJ

suzanne b. says: October 20, 2009 at 12:11 PM

Faces are really hard! Especially faces you know well and love.

Humans have a really small margin of error regarding representations of the faces of living things. Our brain can start registering "that's a monster" over even small errors or differences. Inanimate objects can be off more without upsetting us, because there aren't monster objects. Except trucks. :)

I'm with the folks urging you to leave it alone for a day or so and then come back and do it again. And I agree with the turn-it-upside-down advice, because it'll help you see the colors and shapes as they are rather than as you see them. You see her whole beautiful face at once. :)

Don't fret- it happens so often! I went to design school and I can't tell you how many projects I "ruined." Just keep at it, keep all of your work- no matter how bad- and then after awhile you'll be able to see how you've grown and improved.

Have fun and only let yourself cry over it for a few minutes before you give it another go.

Oh no, maybe if you give it some time and come back to it, it will be fixable. So sorry that you had such a disappointment.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.