It's all done and I'm extremely proud of this self portrait. It took me 5 days which is pretty fast, even for me. I just signed it today and photographed it for my website. I'm going to wait until it's fully dry before I varnish it.
One tip that I read somewhere a long time ago is that you should photograph your painting before you put any varnish on it. The main reason for that is to avoid a glossy glare which the varnish adds to a photo. I've tried to photograph oil painting after varnishing them and it's extremely difficult.
I also think that the varnish is really only a benefit when viewing the painting in person; the purpose of varnish is to make the dry colors come back to life, but that doesn't seem to matter in a photograph anyway. So, in a photograph, it doesn't matter whether the colors are dry and sunken or not.
I just signed the portrait of my girlfriend and got a frame also! The frame is from a really cool antique shop in Ho Ho Kus, NJ. called Granny's Attic. I had to touch up the frame a little bit because it's old, but I love the style of it. All I have left to do is varnish it and it's all done.
It was dark and rainy but I had things I knew I had to fix so I worked today. It went well and I was actually able to finish the painting. The tough part is not over-working the painting, which is why I always sign it when I'm at 95% done.
It's always bittersweet to finish a painting. Now I'm nostalgic and have forgotten all the pain involved in making it.
I'm very proud to say that I have signed this portrait I use a very academic signature in the style of Bouguereau and P + A + Cot, which is an homage to them, but I gotta be honest, it's the hardest part of the painting process. I enjoy the obsessiveness.
I haven't varnished it yet, but I usually photograph it before I varnish it because of the glare. I may photograph it again after I varnish it in a few days. Another painting done and I'll be delivering it to my patrons very soon.