I just started a new Self Portrait for this Summer which I think I can finish in about 3-5 days. I'm really excited about starting it! I abandoned the painting of my house because it just wasn't working, which is part of the process. I don't like to leave work unfinished and I'll only finish a work if it's a commission. But if it's a painting for myself, I don't mind abandoning it and learning what went wrong.
It's kind of like when I start reading a book that I might not enjoy. It's a tricky balance because I have to decide if I should push through it or is it a complete waste of time. I can't quantify my reasoning for abandoning a project, but if my gut tells me that it's going no where, then I'll start a new project. Never give up unless you know what to do next.
This self portrait is going really well so I'll be finishing this one for sure. I'll post some update shots of it on this blog and on my Instagram.
I haven't painted a landscape in a while so I decided to begin a small painting/portrait of my house. It'll be a nice painting to have when I'm older to remember my childhood home. I'm working with a new medium and a very traditional basic palette which I'm much happier with. I'll write another post that goes into detail about my new medium and palette.
My Mom and I picked up a couple frames yesterday for some of my paintings and it's got me thinking. One of the frames is for this painting below of our cat, Lily, who passed away over a year ago. I did a little 7" X 5" portrait of her around 2012-2013. I'm not entirely sure of when I painted it because I didn't sign it with the date in those days. You can even see the early beginnings of my current signature, which is directly inspired by Bouguereau.
The painting is small and not particularly well executed, but I really like it. It captures the emotion of our cat as I remember her; maybe that's the reason why I like this painting. It feels more sincere to me than some of my recent work. I know I've been improving a lot lately, but I've decided to go back to basics with a lot of my techniques. I always have to remind myself to go back to basics because I get caught up in technique.
I'm making some linen panels today and I'm going to do some paintings on them with a more basic medium and see how they turn out. Stay tuned..
I'm very proud of the progression of this portrait. It's not done yet, but it's getting close. I'll probably adjust the background a bit more and add some minor details only. My entire goal with this portrait was to capture the spirit of my girlfriend at this point in her life. I believe that's the highest function of art; to freeze a moment and feeling in time as effectively as I can as a painter.
I've always loved drawing and painting portraits and I also wanted to share some insight into the portrait painting process. To capture a portrait, it really comes down to very subtle proportions. You have to ask questions like: How big is the space between the eyes? how wide is the nose? how do the eyes crease with a smile? Etc. There's an endless amount of questions to ask and answer as you paint. Be as careful as you possibly can and never be afraid to adjust something if it doesn't feel right.
For skin tones, one of my tips is to avoid a lot of white. You can use white, but sparingly. White is a tricky pigment because you could easily bleach out the skin. You can use Naples yellow mixed into your white if you find your skin looking pale and chalky.
I love using backgrounds with portraits and if you choose a background with foliage, like in the portrait below, then remember to keep it more toned down than you think. You want the focus to be on the figure and the background to be an accent.
Hopefully those tips help anyone interested in portraiture. I'll be finishing this portrait soon so stay tuned..