I have set a mirror up on my desk. there is natural light through the window to the left of me and I have also moved my lamp to that side to exaggerate this light. My face is now lit from this side. All sags and wrinkles are thrown into sharp relief. I may need counselling after this….
Using an A4 pad I did a fast loose sketch and then washed over some water colour, picking out the dark areas and shadows. Not sure if it is quite me…a bit cartoonish maybe. Eyes are wrong.
It is carnival here at the moment, and I remembered my blue wig I wore the other year and thought that might be fun. I did this in my water colour pad, A4. I am not getting my mouth the right size.
But, it’s fun, and adds colour anyway 🙂 I think the head in the middle of the page like that is good and strong and I will just wash a background in. I might try and fix something up behind me when I start painting. If I can keep warm enough I might try bare shoulders so I can continue the skin tones down.
I have just done a sketch in my A3 pad with pencil. I am feeling excited because I actually do think it looks like me. I am getting somewhere with this now. Mouth is more accurate if a bit severe.
Today I did the same sketch again A3, using charcoal to work out the darker areas.. I bared my shoulders (it is sunny today 🙂 ) and tried to keep more of a smile on my face. This is better. Those shoulder bones do stick out but I may have over emphasised them…
I need to look at colours to use now, and work out the background.
So today I was having coffee in the yard next to the jasmine which is just coming out in bloom and I wondered if I could put some jasmine in to add some interest; being inspired by Gaela Erwin’s self portraits where she adds an unusual detail to make you look again, like this one with the butterfly which I wrote about previously. I especially love how she has described the skin tones. Source: http://www.gaelaerwin.com/oils.html#section5
I have set up a white screen behind me and draped a dark brown throw over it to the right side and pinned a jasmine bloom to the left in the hair, with a longer piece trailing over the collarbone.
I looked closely at the flowers and leaves as well.
I did a loose sketch in my A3 sketchpad of the scene using my acrylics to try out the colours and the composition. I think the addition of the jasmine flower works well. I can pick up the colours from the buds that match in the skin tones as well and the green is a nice pop of colour and is in my eye colour also. I did this very quickly and spontaneously. Maybe I could try and do the main work that way, although I expect I will end up being a bit more precise….but I will aim for a looser, painterly style. Let’s see what happens…
I painted it out and got the face and hair proportions, and worked in the background areas. I am not sure why I worked the whole face out with the blush colour ; far too pink. The blank eyes make me look like a zombie but that’s it for today so it can stare at me from the corner for a day or so….
A day later and I really want to paint this now, I am out shopping and I almost rush home and up to my room filled with a feeling of needing to paint. This is good, the fear of messing up has gone.I squeeze a blob of all the colours onto my pallette and I get set up in position and my husband takes a photo as I am working, just to prove I really did sit there with jasmine on my head looking slightly silly….no, very silly 😉
I did a lot today and in a bold way too. It is not finished just yet but almost there I think.
I finished it today. I went over the flowers again as I felt they didn’t stand out enough.
I think it is a good likeness, but not like a photographic image; I have captured something of myself. My husband actually thinks it does look like me. I am sending this image to my sister and mother for their reactions and will add them here.
I struggled with the neck, as sometimes I think I had my shoulders a little hunched as I was working. Also, the shadows around the collar bones were not easy to describe. I have made the eyes too large, but i think this works to make the painting interesting. I think because I like my eyes but feel the rest of my face is well past its best, I maybe focused on them too much 🙂 I also regret just fading out at the bottom but maybe should have continued skin tones on down.
I found it easy to work sitting down actually, with the canvas block in front of me. If it had been not been on a stretched block it might have been harder, so this was a good move!