Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures. ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Recently, I started taking night courses again. I wanted to get back to Life Drawing, since I hadn't done any for years, and then I decided I'd take a few courses on portraiture, since I had never done any of that. So, in September, I headed to school for 2 classes: one Portraiture in Oil, and the other Life Painting in Oil.

One of the things about portraiture classes that never ceases to amaze me, is the fact that we all put something of ourselves into the portrait. Literally. The very thin faced woman, who always makes her models look thin faced; the Asian girl who always makes her models appear to be Asian; the wider set man with bushy eyebrows, whos' models always have a likeness to him. It's absolutely fascinating to me. Psychologically, I know why. We all know our own faces the best, so unconsciously, we will paint what we know, rather than what we see, until we learn to paint what we see.

What fascinates me even more though, is that, for the life of me, I cannot see in my own paintings, where or how I put myself in there!

This semester, I thought I'd try the acrylics class, since I hadn't really ever worked with acrylics.

We started the acrylics class with a still life, to get the feel of the paints.

What I love about the acrylics, is the ease with which I can quickly overpaint and correct. What I find challenging, still, is the lack of time for blending. Having worked with oils since I was 9, I am used to long periods where I can play with colour blends. This has been especially challenging when we moved to portraiture.

That lack of time may not be a bad thing though. I am finding that sometimes, the speed with which I am forced to paint, makes me think less, and feel more, and I seem to be slowly allowing myself to loosen up a bit.

I still sometimes find my paintings too stiff. For now though, I want to concentrate on accuracy. From there I can branch out to more loose, and abstract. I just need a little patience to get there. (Yeah, right. I'm a Gemini, and speed is the name of the game!)

Here is another I finished last night.

I keep looking at this, and thinking I need to learn how to paint a 5 o'clock shadow.

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