Just about done.

Almost done

Almost done

Are you tired of this yet?  Well, it’s just about finished.  I reworked the face the last session, softening the eyes and mouth.  The lower part of my face was too gray, so I tried to make it pinker but now it is a bit too white.  I am pale, but not quite that pale.  I am fairly happy with the eyes and may only touch up the nose a bit on the left.  The mouth is okay and I may just leave everything except to make the cheeks and chin a little more peachy pink.

All in all, I’m not unhappy with this effort.  I am using a 38 year old instamatic photo of me less than an inch square and enlarged with my copier for a grainy reference.  This is my first acrylic portrait since just one I did in college so the whole thing has been quite the experiment.

I’m debating using something more recent and trying again.  It actually has been kind of fun.  It is odd to barely recognize my younger self, although many have commented I still look a lot the same.  The question remains whether I can find a suitable picture because I am NOT looking in the mirror to do it.

Session three

It's coming along

It’s coming along

Well, it’s getting there. I’m not quite happy with the eyes and mouth, but it is still just good enough to continue.  The eye level  is uneven and the pupils are not quite the same size.  I actually like the previous effort better, but I think it is fixable.  I have let it sit for 4-5 days and now can see it a bit more clearly.

The colors and shading are better than the photo shows, but it is good to see it this way because it accentuates the problems.  I am more encouraged when I look at the real thing.  It’s just doesn’t seem quite worth the time to totally fix up the photo for the preliminary work.  I’d rather work on the real thing.  I will fix up the final picture as best I can so you can see a better version.

Second painting session

Second sitting

Second sitting

Well, so far it’s not too bad. In fact, it’s going well enough that now I am concerned about “ruining” it.  As typical for me, it is better on the board than it shows up here, with the colors being somewhat softer and better blended.  I need to consider how detailed to get, especially for the eyes and mouth.  The eyes are a little bit off and I have to figure out the teeth, but it is an acceptable start.

I chose a mossy green background and I think it goes well with my brown hair.  Better than the car seatback, don’t you think?  My top was a floral print that kind of matched my skin tone and I think I’ll keep it for now.  The flowers are pastellish so they won’t compete much with the overall painting.

It has sat for a day or two, so now I can see it with fresh eyes.  Still okay, but I need to get my courage up and get on with the painting.

And now for something completely different……

Pencil-up of the portrait

Pencil-up of the portrait

Several months ago, as you know, I decided to work again with the acrylic paints after a break of probably 25 years.  I had been thinking about it for some time earlier, but watching the British show “Portrait Artist of the Year” really inspired me to take the next step.  After the first set if paintings I have chronicled – both successful and unsuccessful – the thought came to me that perhaps I should attempt my own self portrait.  This is not as easy as it might seem, regardless of whether the portrait will be good or not, because I take terrible pictures when I know the camera is on me.  I sifted through decades of photos for which, unfortunately, I am the major photographer and therefore not in.  And the ones I am in rarely do me any kind of justice.  In fact, they are usually pretty awful.

Preliminary underpainting

Preliminary underpainting

Finally I settle on one from my wedding day.  It’s a fairly simple, candid shot of me looking over my shoulder as we drive away in my little silver pinto.  I like the picture because I am not looking directly at the camera, but just over my shoulder.  Time will tell how it turns out, but I already know the mouth is going to be hard.

Mr. Turtle is back

Mr. Turtle

Mr. Turtle

With all of the warm weather lately, I have been spending some of my mornings in the flowerbeds.  The nice temperatures and intermittent rains have started the morning weeding chores.  I had just finished one of the lower beds to the side of my studio and when I got up, there was Mr. Turtle almost beside me in the grass.  He was trucking right along (for a turtle, anyway) to the beds next to the gazebo.  I had been concerned about him after the sticky paper incident last fall because I hadn’t seen him after we cleaned and then freed him, so this was so wonderful for me to see.

I raced back into the house to get my camera.  By the time I got back he had moved under the edge of the evergreen shrubs where I had been weeding.  Much to his dismay, I plucked him up and set him down a few feet away so I could take his picture.  Shortly thereafter he continued on his journey.  I hope to see him often over the summer.  We’re kind of like pals after all of these years.

Calf character

Calf portrait

Calf portrait

It has been quite warm this week and I have started to work some outside.  The weeds seem to have started up more than my flowers and I am trying to get a head start, especially on the dandelions.  Show me your yellow flower, and you’re gone! They are easy to spot right now and with the rain we had last week, I can pull most weeds up with the help of my hand trowel.  I have already pulled 2 wheelbarrows full so I’m feeling pretty good about that.  Not too much too soon or my hands will let me know about it.

In the meantime, I have pretty well finished up the watercolor calf.  I’ve deepened his coloring and added more to the background.  Although this is the same calf I did the acrylic head shot of a while back, the tone is a little bit less personal, I think.  Farther away, he doesn’t look quite so curious – more like he is staring hard, deciding if he should stay or run.  I’ll probably list him in my etsy store this week.

How now brown cow

Brown watercolor calf

Brown watercolor calf

I am so ready for nice weather.  March was on the warm side, but April has been quite the roller coaster – pleasantly warm and then nights of mid 20’s with cold, windy days.  I hope this week is starting a consistent spring trend.  I always get worried if it gets too warm too early and the early emergers get burned by frost.

I finally set myself down at the drafting table and decided to go back to the watercolors for a bit.  I went through my cattle photos again and liked this one.  I think it is the same calf that I did the close-up head shot of with the acrylics.  He’s a photogenic kind of guy, isn’t he.  After I did the preliminary inking, I loosely applied the first layer of paint.  His coat color has bled into the background some, but I’m not concerned.  I’ll use it to add depth and just be a little more careful in the next phase.

I have made 4 sales in my etsy store so far this month, a record for me.  Spring is starting out with a bang.  I’ll have to get this guy listed as soon as I have finished.

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