First rule of portrait club?

  • First rule of portrait club – this is not a club – it’s a war.
  • Second rule – you can’t talk about a portrait until it’s done, but for everyone else it’s fair game
  • Third rule – paint ’til you feel like you’re about to pass out and then step away from the canvas
  • Fourth rule – only two people can be in each portrait at one time – you (the artist) and your subject / victim
  • Fifth rule – only paint one portrait at a time
  • Sixth rule – Shirt or shoes are not needed for either artist or sitter, (but reveal too much and it won’t be a portrait..)
  • Seventh rule – A portrait will take as long as it has to – see Leonardo da Vinci
  • Eighth rule – If this is your first portrait you have to keep going at it even if you have to stop and start again

While you’re painting a portrait, various family members may offer erudite comments over the ropes .. such as

‘You need to even out the skin tone more’ (12 yo!) or

‘Are you going to leave that quizzical eyebrow like that?’ (old bloke I married) or

‘Mmm, good. Can I have some money for chocolate?’ (middle child while taking pic for instagram)

Study of a young woman

Study of a young woman

Other memorable Tyler Durdan philosophy to keep the mind going while getting through a portrait include

‘How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?’

‘Without pain, without sacrifice, we would have nothing.’

‘It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.’

This then below are snippets of my progress and struggles for the week capturing the oldest child in colour.

(Fight club reference is apt as this one sings / has sung in a band called the Paper St Soap Company.

Also her hand shows the signs of playing violin – long fingers and very strong .. and you can hear some of their nice folky music from the link)


7 thoughts on “First rule of portrait club?

  1. All of these rules are great for portrait painting or translating it over just about anything in life, for example it would be writing. Don’t talk too much about it until you have finished it.


    • Thanks so much Dawn – As much as I love the boys in the film, I must admit I was one of those country hick girls who thought ‘this is a bit nasty and shallow’ and then (when penny dropped) went ‘oh, this is really amazing’ and had to go back to the start. Of course I’m such an urban hippy now I totally get the whole metaphysics (:>). Whoops we’ve just talked about Fight Club – which is against the first two rules.


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