Monday, December 24, 2012

"you really should do it, all artists should"

original photo
i have either received or read the advice in the title of this posting more times than i can count. to what are they referring? a self portrait. i cannot verify the truth of these statements, but when a local magazine editor suggested she wanted a self portrait for an article about our local art show, i decided i probably should heed the wisdom. so here goes.

photo cropped and changed to b+w

i started by putting my "el cheapo" camera on a taller than normal table, setting the timer for 10 seconds, and striking the provocative pose you see here. from that i cropped the photo down to the size and composition that i could work from, and made a black and white copy. i like to work from b+w photos as this gives me a better view of the values and leaves some license to use a color scheme that i like and not be slave to the photo colors. after drawing my somewhat scruffy mug on a piece of 11"X15", 300#, hot press fabriano artistico paper using a modified contour technique, i put down an initial wash using a #26 round and dilute solutions of scarlet lake, raw sienna, cadmium yellow orange (holbein), and cerulean blue.

detail of eye and socket
initial wash and first features
this needed to be absolutely dry as tested by having no residiual coolness to touch before proceding with the features. switching to a #16 round that pointed well i started with the features. i usually start with the eyes or nose, and this was no exception. throughout these steps i used combinations of the same colors as mentioned in the initial wash. i included a close up of my *right* eye for those interested in the detail. these small detail shots should look like an abstract painting in the style of the whole painting if done "right."

from there i moved back and forth from face to background to shirt. i also noticed some drawing errors that i corrected before i got too much paint on the paper surface. the most glaring was my *left* ear was too high (and too long). at this point i decided to stop for a rest and to let the paper dry thoroughly.

a few more features added

this is where i left it tday


  1. You are getting a very good likeness Bob, wow, it is so difficult , but very well done ! I hope you are having some great Holidays !

    1. thanks for your encouragement, jane. it is daunting to paint someone you know let alone yourself. i am finding myself getting very tentative and tight the closer i get to the finish. yesterday i caught myself putting a glaze down and found it was so dilute i couldn't even see it BEFORE it dried! talk about niggling. please have a wonderful new year