At times it seems like progress comes quickly - floating down the river and passing a large tributary which changes the character of the water, muddies the color, adds to the volume and force of the current. And then just as quickly it seems that the progress slips away or fades, and we are forced to rely on the "innumerable little careful springs". I chip away at practice, searching for my process, and one of the practices I lean on is portraiture. The above study is a smallish 8 x 8 in oil done with just vermillion, yellow ochre, white and black. It was eye-opening for me to discover the range of color available from this limited palette, and the harmony of color was obvious. I did several others using the same limitation, but the weakness seemed to be in the drawing, so I turned to charcoal for a little more practice there. Abe Lincoln had such a distinctive face, especially ravaged after the years of civil war and the heavy burden that placed on his heart. And yet as iconic as is his face, the least little discrepancy in placement of the features glares at me, reminding me that I have such a long road ahead, and giving me even greater respect for those artists who are able to so deftly capture likeness and soul.