I have been using a variety of mediums for some time now but working out which I like to use the most has been difficult for me. Some days I love to work with charcoal and others I prefer to express myself with oils. I have been experimenting quite a lot with portraiture and one of my nieces has asked me to create a portrait of her. She has left all the creative decisions up to me, including what medium to use. I asked if she would like it be a pencil sketch or embrace the use of bold colors, for example, but she just wants to see what I can come up with without direction. I’m quite nervous about this challenge. My niece is a very trendy young student. I think the modern description for her would be that she is a ‘hipster’, although I’m not convinced she’d be happy about my use of this term! I don’t want to create something that she thinks is dull, old-fashioned or not hip enough. Contrary to the majority of my art, I like to keep it really simple with portraiture and use pencil. I like the way the pencil can represent every line, shade, crease and feature of a face, with more detail than paint can, or at least for someone with my ability to use paint. The problem is, my niece has a bright, colorful character and instinctively I want to capture this when I draw her. Should I just stick to what I am good at? At least if she finds a pencil portrait boring she will be impressed by my technique and the likeness. I’m just scared that a simple pencil drawing will be dull and not something she wants to show off or display on her wall. I really enjoy studying portraits that have been create in the style of ‘Fauvism’. Fauvism, named so after the French for Wild Beasts, ‘Les Fauves’, uses bright unnatural colors in the place of natural coloors. In portraiture this can create some fascinating shading and, in my opinion, can capture the soul or the aura of a person. Henri Matisse used a Fauvism approach to his art and I would like to experiment with this myself. In fact, I think just writing this blog has convinced me to go bold and bright when making a portrait of my niece. It’s young fresh and funky and I think she’ll really love it.