Self Portrait Painting

It occurs to me that I neglected to post my last two paintings from painting class.

(I know you’ve been wondering where they were! 🙂 )

In our earlier assignment we were required to include an egg in our still life. The main reason for that was the egg is really difficult to do and if you break the face down into parts it’s mostly made of egg shapes. So we moved on to self portraits.

Like a lot of people, I hate pictures of myself. So I was pretty much going to be uncomfortable with a self portrait no matter how you look at it. My first sketch idea was an elaborate and intricate drawing which exceeded my skill set (possibly) and my time frame (definitely). I went “back to the drawing board” and decided to come up with a different picture to use as a jump off point. Our teacher had taken snapshots of us in class for us to use.

Inspired by a classmates digital manipulation of his photo, I decided to see what pictures I had that I was willing to use.

This is it:

close up picture of my eyes

Revealing, isn't it?

So, I opened it in a photo editing program and fiddled with it a bit until I got something I liked.

I then gridded it so I could transfer it up to the canvas size more easily.

It looked a little somethin’ like this:

self portrait in color and gridded for reference

Ready to Go!

We were pretty much given free reign on this assignment, with one small requirement.

We had to use a technique called grisaille ( rhymes with fisheye -with a z sound in the middle).

This means that you paint the picture in shades of gray (and black and white). When you’ve done that part, then you (optionally) apply a thin glaze, or wash, of color(s) over it. The result is supposed to have a lot of depth due to the under laying of the lights and darks.

So, I also printed it in black and white for reference and got to painting.

my eyes self portrait in shades of grey shown with my reference pictures taped above

Stop Staring At Me!

here it is a bit closer:

a little closer view of my eyes in greyscale

Almost done with the grey

I tweaked the grey a little bit more and then added the wash of color.

I think it turned out pretty close to the photo:

finished eyes in color shown with reference photo

I actually was quite surprised by how well it turned out, but also how much it looks like me. You wouldn’t think that it would since it was only my eyes. But it does.

Here it is finished and by itself:

final color wash over grisaille portrait of my eyes

Ta Dah!

Just one more little thing and then I’ll have finished wrapping up Painting I class. Our final assignment was to do a landscape. In contrast to all our other paintings this one was actually quite restricted. We were given a 2 inch wide flat brush. It was the only brush we were allowed to use. We were also only allowed to spend 2 hours on it. We were supposed to try to actually sit outside and paint an actual landscape. (Known as plein air painting) But it was rainy that week so that was made optional. I was not particularly happy with my results, but will include it in the interest of full disclosure.

This is what I was trying to paint:

photo of cloudy sunrise behind rocks

Glorious Sunrise!

and this is what I did paint.

painting of cloudy sunrise behind dark green rocks

ta dah.

I did receive good feedback on it from my classmates. But I just didn’t really like how it turned out.

I really enjoyed this class and wish that I had the option to take more classes from this teacher as he is one of my favorites.

Today I am grateful for: art, inspiration, books, coffee(!), and music.

What are you grateful for?

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