This is my first blog showing the process of one of my self portraits. I don’t know why I haven’t posted a blog on this yet!
Painting realistically is very different from my fine art and illustration work, but I still love the challenge of painting portraits and realistically, and this is a wonderful way to do something different and keep my chops up!
I always work from a mirror, people are surprised to learn I don’t paint my portraits from photos. There is no substitution from life painting/drawing. You see more color and subtle value gradations than a photo, and it’s an excellent exercise in drawing/painting what you see. Always good to keep your eyes in training!
Setting up my pose, checking out lighting, and mixing up colors!
I start these alla prima (all in one sitting) paintings by laying in a quick wash in the background.
Painting is underway. I didn’t take a photo of my initial sketch over the wash, but I did a quick line drawing of myself first. I always paint background to foreground, so the wall color behind me was done first, then my hair, and shirt.
When painting, always smart to paint dark to light. Colors blend better this way. If you put a light color down first, and try to darken it, it’s pretty impossible. Those light colors just soak up the dark!
Detail. You can really see my brush work here. Very different than my fine art paintings and illustration work which is much tighter and more refined.
And eventually. . . you have this. I love to leave these paintings more unfinished; has a certain life to them than completely finished paintings do not. You can see, I did smooth out some of my brush work, but still pretty rapid strokes.
I worked on this about 6 consecutive hours. Had to step away though and come back with fresh eyes. After a while, I started to get very tired and it’s very difficult to paint yourself while staying in the same position, under the lighting, in front of the mirror. When this happens, I began to paint myself looking tired, so I knew it was time to step away.
I should have photographed my set up too with the lights / mirror, and whatnot because those conditions alone are challenging to paint within.
Nice white frame with gold detail.