These are a recent few of the quick sketches I do while working out. I set a goal to complete a portrait using the few minutes between sets with weight routines, and I try to limit the time spent at the easel, since it's really supposed to be a workout, not a painting session. I lay in a few strokes, do a set, lay in a few more strokes... It forces me to get away from drawing, beginning each portrait with a general shape of the head to get it on the page (all of these are done in a small sketchbook of watercolor paper that I have first gessoed). It's easier when there are dark and light sides to the face, allowing for creation of volume and drama.
These aren't meant to be finished paintings by any means, and the only use I have for them will be to refer back to them in a year or two to see if I am making progress.
It amazes me how much variety there is in the human face, and how the slightest change in arrangement can make such a big change in resemblance. Frizzy hair is hard!
It has not been easy to find solid blocks of time to paint lately, and so I have tried another approach on the painting below - working on a slightly larger scale (24" x 30") and adding a few strokes whenever I pass by. Initially I did the underpainting in acrylic, just to get the darks and lights down quickly, and then I began building on that with oils. It seemed to work out as well that way as any other, and I will probably try that again. I learned that I was able to go back in and scrape out something I didn't like and paint over it, not something I normally try. And adding passages over seven days or so allowed me to go over paint that had dried (Liquin was the medium once I switched to oils) and if I didn't like it, it wiped off easily. This one is still not finished, but the bulk of it will remain.