Although I’ve enjoyed the acrylic glazing process, I decided I wanted to return to something with more ‘solidity’ and depth, and a method that is more direct. I have not been able to find mediums I like for the water-mixable oils, so with some encouragement and instruction from Kari Rajkumar, I’m working with traditional oils now.
I bought a small selection of Gamblin 1980 oils locally, and have been working on exercises from Paint Coach (on YouTube and Patreon). Paint Coach (Chris Fornataro) is very good at simplifying and de-mystifying the materials and process, with excellent tutorials on all aspects of oil painting. And he’s often entertaining!
The layers of color are so much fun! I’m really enjoying this process. It is very calm, slow, and meditative. Each layer is only just visible as it goes on and so makes a small difference, thus making it easy to change direction as the painting develops.
During the corona virus ‘shelter-at-home time’, March-May, I followed along with artist Matt Philleo in the challenge he was offering as free online lessons every few days. I liked the idea of doing a special project during this strange time, and I liked the encouragement to use a 16 x 20 size, which I have never done before.
I had tried glazing with acrylics a few years ago, but probably was doing it too thickly and impatiently. It didn’t go very well. This time, with his instruction to use 95% matte medium to 5% paint, and paint so lightly that you can hardly see the difference, it went a lot better and I like the result!
‘Going Out Again’, 16 x 20 inches, acrylic on canvas panel
This is my first attempt at a self portrait, something of which I have felt scared up until now. I thought perhaps the going might be easier if I included another special person. In the end, I enjoyed it more than I expected. Redesigning yourself is liberating!
There is a problem with setting up self portraits-if you use a mirror to see yourself, that is the view you are used to seeing, but not what other people see when they look at you and so they will think it looks quite wrong.
If you use a photo of yourself taken by someone else, again the image looks backwards to you, the subject, but correct to everyone else. If you take a selfie, the set-up is a mirror image (looking correct to the self), but the photo, once taken, flips and looks backwards to the subject!
I’ve seen one artist who addressed this by painting a profile self-portrait using two mirrors.
The source for this painting was a selfie photo, so my face looks a bit odd to me (not what I’m used to seeing), but I hope it looks correct to everyone else!
Recently I tried two more one hour portraits, but this time from photos I’d taken in the past year. They were useful studies, again with good learning experiences involved. The process forces quick decisions, and sometimes they are wrong! In the first picture, the angle of the face should be tipped forward more. (I used this study as a practice for a more finished painting).
In the second painting, the general positioning is good, but the eyes are too low, even though I was comparing distances with the end of my paintbrush. However, she has the right look of intensity and concentration. I’d like to do this one again as a more finished painting.
They are both oil , 11 x 14, painted on canvas board (toned chromium oxide green).
On my recent birthday, which fell in Thanksgiving week, my requested activity was to paint portraits of my family members from life. I thought they could not sit for too long, so I attempted to complete each portrait in one hour. It was challenging! In the end we spent one and a quarter hours for most of them.
I painted the first one the day before my birthday, the next three on my birthday, and the last one three days later. My family found it more difficult to sit than they expected! I tried to encourage them to be relaxed, move as they needed and feel free to talk to the people around, but not to me! I was very grateful for their efforts.
They are all 11 x 14, oil, painted on a chromium oxide green toned canvas board.
This painting combines two ideas that are interesting to me at the moment- people’s uses of and interactions with their devices, and the recurring theme of my husband’s Tilley hat.
On this occasion the phone was a pleasant link between my husband and our grandson. Sadly, the phone came to a sudden demise a few weeks after this, and the photo he was taking has been lost forever.
The Tilley hat is so wonderful to paint! I love the shape and the color, and of course it goes along with my husband, who I also love to paint. It is my husband’s best hat ever; in fact this is the second one he’s had, replaced under warranty; the first one wore out from so much wear. (I have one too, a different color). We highly recommend Tilley hats!