Self portrait – is this it?

Whatever else, I may have found a better use for cling film than wrapping cucumbers. Here we go, what do you think? What’s the cling film thing all about then? In a selfie-obsessed world I hate them; possibly because however I hold the phone, I always look like a witch. I haven’t got round to applying filters though, instead I go old school and aim the camera at a mirror where at least I can keep a bit of distance between me and the eventual image. So I took a photo of a reflection and then made a painting of … Continue reading Self portrait – is this it?

Not quite ‘last’ – painting revisited

Art is a lot like writing, an ongoing process of edits, revisions, and the murdering of darlings – who knew? This is where I left off a day or so ago, thinking that’s it, no more, it is what it is. But no; it sat there looking heavy and lacking while at the same time seeming to have some potential, even if of the sort that only its creator could love. I’ve gone for the ‘edit-by-gesso’ strategy under the dubious influence of BST jetlag (one hour forward and I might as well have flown to New York, I’m that discombobulated) … Continue reading Not quite ‘last’ – painting revisited

Follow that painting, day last

I may have killed it. On the other hand, it may have more life in it than before I decided on a background to make it ‘pop’ then began fiddling around with the figurative elements. This was yesterday, a fairly ordinary portrait with not much to recommend it. And here’s today’s version which, to my surprise, looks better on-screen than out there on the easel. There’s more gouache (also some white watercolour because I ran out of white gouache), oil crayon, conte and charcoal, a calligraphy pen for scratching out top layers to reveal lower ones, some paper towel dabbing, … Continue reading Follow that painting, day last

Follow that painting – day something-or-other

I’ve been picking over the detail and adding/removing parts of the background and figure elements to bring out the main features. This is where we were at close of play last time and that wrist was bothering me, along a bit of a Herman Munster forehead. So here we are after the application of some ‘pop’ colour (the orange) and an adjustment of the background with more gesso, half-dried then scrubbed with a grout brush to make texture. I think the wrist is better but now I can see that all that vigorous scratching has dislodged a patch of colour … Continue reading Follow that painting – day something-or-other

Follow the painting – day 3 maybe 4

I’ve done a lot of prowling round this portrait; viewing it close up, sideways, from a distance, on screen, good light, poor light, glasses on, glasses off. Why? To get different impressions of the shapes, tones and shadows, movements and statics so I can get a view from outside my painter’s bubble. I’m happier about the face and glasses now but the wrists and the watch need more attention. In monochrome, that dark patch stands out and it shouldn’t – it looks as though it weighs an absolute ton too! Forehead could do with some lightening up after I pulled … Continue reading Follow the painting – day 3 maybe 4

Follow that painting Day 2 (or maybe 3)

I’ve been squinting at this thing sideways for a little while, trying to decide what to do with it. Persevere and see if I can wrangle a decent image out of it or take the coward’s way out and smother it? I’ve had another go. Or two. Here’s the horror movie version; some undercoating to use as a base for colour layers but creepy or what?   Happier with that for now but oh look at that fat, flat wrist! I’ve added more gouache to the surface then, once dry, some detail with oil crayon which can be applied then … Continue reading Follow that painting Day 2 (or maybe 3)

Follow that painting: Day One

I don’t do portraits and I’ve only ever done one self portrait, handily fudged by the size of the phone in front of my face. But the OCA course is about to demand I take another crack at it so I thought I’d get a head (ha!) start. I mean, all that learning-by-osmosis from Sky’s Portrait Artist of the Year has to have had some effect, right? Here we go then: Step one – pick a suitable selfie. Ok, that’s Step two; step one is getting something decent in the first place. Then, to get a feel for the larger … Continue reading Follow that painting: Day One