Part 3, project 2, exercise 1 – self portrait

I was ready to paint this straight off; angry with the world for its negligence when it comes to wildlife and the consequences this has unleashed on us, this could be subtitled ‘the corona years 2020-2021’ because that is how long this will last for anyone in the older age bracket or with other vulnerabilities in the absence of a vaccine.

I’ve used a limited palette of phthalo blue, titanium white, Payne’s grey, alizarin crimson, and dab of sap green on some A2 cartridge prepared with transparent gesso and a wash of Naples yellow/Payne’s grey mix. I applied the paint with two flat brushes (1/2″ and 1″) and a small unmarked pointed one. Making the Death Stare into a mirror was not difficult, I am seething and, like a lot of people, a wee bit frightened.

In that context, it’s quite difficult to offer an objective critique because it fits my mood and it feels right. There are shapes and shades that could be better, detail that could be more precise, and lines that can’t quite decide if they’re supposed to be prominent or subtle. On balance though, and for an off-the-bat portrait, I’m pleased to call it mine.


Apart from my state of mind and mood, I think my choice of palette was probably influenced by the portraits made in quilt by Bisa Butler whose work I saw in My Modern Met, although it could be I’m drawn to her work because that palette already appeals to me.

6 thoughts on “Part 3, project 2, exercise 1 – self portrait

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