I have been painting a woman named Patricia over the course of ten months now. I met her in a local cafe in Islip, and asked her if she would be interested in posing for a painting. She gave a warm “yes”, and had an air of familiarity with being painted. I was a bit surprised, until she showed me some photos on her iPhone. She had been a model for Paris Vogue, her image on the side of Times Square as a model for Cartier jewelry, among other things in the fashion world. Then, she left the fashion world to pursue a career in Biochemistry. As she made her way through college, she worked in an obscure cafe on our Main Street. She’s an incredible person to paint, but challenging- in a fascinating way. Some people have such a harmony of proportions, such physical beauty, that any small variation means that the whole harmony has been thrown off. Aside from this painterly challenge, I’ve been beset by obstacles, I’ve been artistically stumped, I’ve been painterly perplexed, I’ve been distracted by so many different events… This painting has changed positions so many times, so many ways… my view of Patricia has evolved, leaving such different impressions on the canvas… limbs have been moved up and down, left and right… hair has been put up, then down… eyes have been pensive, then glad, then melancholy, then hopeful… Through all of this searching, I arrived at something, someone, a beauty that I could never have planned. I had to find it, with failure being my stepping stone all of the way. I’m still not finished. I haven’t gotten the chance to paint Patricia’s legs in yet- I spent today wiping out the previous position of her legs, as I didn’t like how they were tucked away. I’ll keep searching for the conclusion.