Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Day 6 : Battling with the Self

This morning the sun was streaming through the winter branches and it felt good to be out on my little folding bike, speeding towards the station to get the train to Glasgow and into my studio whilst it was still sunny.

I had started a second self portrait for the impending competition 'self', from a photo taken by Trevor, before I got felled with the flu and I was keen to make good progress on it today. This is the underpainting that awaited it's new layers.

Self portrait Day 1, 60 x 60cm, oil on canvas

As the weather, and hence the light, was fantastic, I got onto painting right away. It struck me how easy it was to be productive when the weather was nice, and how difficult I find getting myself going when the light is drab and the temperatures cold.

Self portrait in progress

By late lunchtime, I had repainted most of the face, but quite carefully for some reason, and when I stepped back, I realise the overall effect had become too tight and lifeless, so I attacked the wet paint with a rag to add some life back into the modelling of the face.

Self Portrait at the end of day 2

After lunch, I got all the main tones down in the background and on the dress as well as darkening the hair on the right. I've still got a fair amount of work to do on the neck and the top of the hair, before I let myself fiddle with the face again. The portrait is a fair likeness but in some ways it lacks the life of the one done from life (shown below).

This portrait, painted from life, is a little less flattering but has so many more colours and lively brushtrokes. Perhaps a consequence of not copying a photograph is that I am able to introduce my own feelings into my work. I don't see myself as a beauty. Even though the one painted from a photograph is perhaps more realistic, I think painting from life results in a portrait that is more real and lively, but less pretty.

This post is rather short as I am exhausted after working so hard, for once, so excuse me if I go and put my feet up!


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