Realistic acrylic portrait painting of toddler looking at the camera with dark background
“Christopher at 12 Months”, acrylic on canvas by Annie Dash Studios — original work, 2022, updated 2023

This portrait of my son, Christopher, was originally completed last year, in 2022. At the time, I had not completed an acrylic portrait in many years and specifically chose the subject and reference photo because it would be highly challenging — young children are often one of the most difficult subjects to paint, due to their features and size. Over the past year, though, I continued to study realistic painting techniques, practiced several times a week, and completed a number of art works. 

A few days ago, this painting beckoned to me to make some updates (an image of the original painting is below). Looking at it with fresh eyes, I could see that the shadows and background were simply too harsh for such a delicate subject. I lightened up the shadows with several glazes of paint, softened the background, and added more details and highlights to the face and hair.

My many hours of practice over the last year gave me a new perspective and the confidence to make the changes without fear that I would “ruin” the artwork. It reminded me that we always have the opportunity to grow, learn, and change — that as long as we’re alive, we’re not done yet. I’m so grateful for the lesson and opportunity to make this portrait more complete and beautiful. As a mother and painter, I’m so pleased with the results.

Has this ever happened to you? Did you ever revisit a previous situation or work project after time away from it? How did it go for you? I would love to hear your comments below.

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