Clocking in 9 hours at the easel today brought me to about 60% of being finished with the first official Durham Dreams portrait. Woohoo! Tomorrow I will post a pic of the updates. You can see from this photo that I've obstructed the canvas with a chair. Well, that's for two reasons. One reason is that it's at this point of a painting that I have an uncontrollable urge to shout "No, no peeking till it's finished!" The second reason is that I think a chair is the second most most important tool to an artist after their brush. The ability to sit and observe - to withdraw and contemplate - is so important. The whole idea of stepping back and removing yourself from whatever it is that's being done, is so critical. Otherwise, sometimes it's easy to just keep bulldozing our way and we tend to loose perspective of the big picture - how things are fitting together in the big picture. Sitting cures this. I remember years ago reading about one of my favorite artists, Paul Klee, and how he would sit in his studio for hours just contemplating one of his paintings. He would then, after this silent study, slowly take his brush and make one or two masterful strokes to complete his composition. I've not mastered his ratio of sitting to looking. But I glean from his wisdom!