I’m a beginner. I painted this from a selfie photo that a friend had taken of herself. It is a surprise and will be going out this Monday! It had big challenges as the photo was overexposed, and there was some distortion which happens when taking a selfie. I did it on paper for easier mailing. She lives across the country and given Covid, it’s been a challenge to ship anything, so chose paper. It is watercolour paper covered in layers of gesso, sanded between coats. I did an acrylic underpainting. I tried to go beyond the burnt umber painting using an acrylic base to see how it would work, Compared to using oils, acrylic is not forgiving, I got frustrated and started again by painting over in oil.
In the end, I added flecks of gold leaf in the abstract background. It’s too blended. The shirt is too uniform. I struggled with the values because i had to create them given the photo was washed out and there was distortion of the nose.
I left her overalls and didn't want to overwork them- kind of like an unpainted comic book ink drawing symbolizing humour. I liked the contrast of the overalls to the rest of the more developed, blended and saturated colours in the rest of the painting. In the end, I was pleased to have captured her spirit and humour. She always has a smirk that is about to burst into laughter, then comes some dry, one- liner that cracks me up.
I hope as I progress, to become looser and more abstract. I’d like to try dull colours with a few rich colours. I’m in the process of trying to copy a master painting of a portion of The Lady of Shalott and another of an old vintage camping poster on wood for a minifridge door in our new van.
Anyhow, not sure if this falls into realism. But Mark’s videos have helped me along and inspired me to keep going. I’m a late bloomer. My sisters and Mom are painters. My other siblings are artists of other kinds, so I’ve felt intimidated to try. One of my sisters has paintings in galleries, including one sitting next to a Degas, so for some stupid reason, there’s an extra level of self-imposed pressure.
The gift of Covid forced a reckoning with mortality, highlighting a feeling of precious time left, especially since my Mom is also going deaf and blind, and is only 19 yrs older. It freaked me out and I made art like my life depended on it this summer in lock down. It was a good wake up call. There should be a book on the psychology of creating art and the fear that goes with it. I found we are not alone in these feeling. After talking to my siblings and others from families who are all artists, there seems to be a common thread of experiences among them. I've seen the same happen in families where everyone chooses similar careers. Anyhow, this has been fun and it’s so cool to start this later in life. Better late than never!