Underpainting Self portrait

Light Green

I choose a color palate that was not what I was intending to be my final image. I was curious about the process of changing the palate once the under painting dried.


I painted large shapes to lay out the composition.


I wiped any extremely light areas clean of pigment while the wash was still wet.

I paid attention to which areas were light and which were dark.

I used tints and shades of light green to express details in the face.

Carried away in the process I drew lines with pencil to get the definition I wanted. I was unsure about the next step but I knew that defining lines would give the image my typical style.

New territories

Working the molding paste for the first time. I wanted to accentuate the texture of my hair.


Oh no! At this point I was feeling really lost, I was not in a creative space at all. I was frustrated to loose the drawing in my original under painting. I was also struggling with color and this made me want to give up and start over. I thought I should have picked an easier subject.


I kept working. I turned the brush around, literally! My students often want to give up on their art projects. I almost never let them. I think they learn a whole lot more by accepting and fixing their mistakes. I figured if I tell my students to "Turn your mistake into something great!" I better also be willing to live by that standard.


After working the palate and adding layer after layer, I got my creative juices flowing again. I went a little absurd and grabbed charcoal sticks. I drew thick black lines right into the wet paint focusing on the darkness of the eyes.


I then added the light. The bright white light shining in from the window was something that was very interesting to me in the original photograph. The bold white really gave the painting it's character.


I added and faded lines of charcoal. I made the hair very dark. It helped define the nose (finally!). It also helped express the emotion in the portrait that I wanted to reveal.

"After the Struggle."

I am happy with my final image. It's not yet a masterpiece but a challenge accepted and defeated. I'm interested to hear what emotions viewers see in the self-portrait. I see what I feel and I think it's a success!

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