Tag Archives: acrylic

Self Portrait #4

SelfPortrait4Painting
Self Portrait #4
12″x16″
Acrylic on Canvas

I started this painting by squirting paint straight onto the canvas and loosely spreading it around with a palette knife.  Working from a black and white photo, I initially just focused on getting the values (lightness and darkness) right in the flesh tones.  Then I mixed up some various desaturated colors and worked them into the face until an interesting balance was achieved.

I’m very happy with the final result, but the truth is that I didn’t like the way it looked until the very last brush stroke.  This one took about 9 hours.

Notes for the next painting:
1) Keep resisting the urge to blend paint…  Let the brush strokes show.
2) Consider using even less saturated colors and maybe a more limited palette.
3) Use smaller brushes (and brush strokes) for the detail areas.
4) Use glazing liquid to add more layers of brush strokes for more depth.
5) Lower the lighting in the studio.  This painting came out a little darker than I would have wanted possibly because the canvas was too brightly lit during the painting process.

Lily #2

LilyPainting2
Lily #2
11”x14″
Acrylic on Canvas

This was a difficult one.  Since I was painting my daughter, I didn’t feel as free to experiment.  I took a very conservative approach to the painting and it shows.  Also, the colors I mixed for the skin tones were a bit drab and my numerous touch ups made the paint a bit muddy by the end.  I also focused on the details too early in the process.  Overall, I learned many lessons from this portrait that I will be carrying forward.

Jimi Hendrix

JimiHendrixPainting.jpg
Jimi Hendrix
11”x14”
Acrylic on Canvas

I’ve been very motivated lately and just completed my fourth painting in two weeks. My stay-wet palette has allowed me to reuse the same paint for all four paintings although, after two weeks, some of the paint was feeling a little tacky. I’ll start with fresh mixes on the next one.

I approached this painting with a similar process as my Tom Waits and Thelonious Monk portraits — alternating between realistic skin tones and more colorful hues. Like the other portraits, I found that a simple solid background makes the face pop. I added some paint splatters using Yellow Ochre and Burnt Sienna. I got a little carried away especially with the dark Burnt Sienna on some of the lighter parts of the face. I ended up tapping out some of the excess splatters on the nose, cheek and chin. This one took about 11 hours.

Thelonious Monk

TheloniousMonkPainting
Thelonious Monk
11”x14”
Acrylic on Canvas

This one didn’t go as smoothly as my Tom Waits portrait, but I’m still very happy with the result.  The colorful skin tones I started out with didn’t seem to fit the subject, so I pulled them back.  I tried lots of different techniques on the skin including palette knife and glazing which added to the complexity of the skin (see detail).  This one took about 13 hours to complete.

Detail:
TheloniousMonkPaintingDetail

Tom Waits

TomWaitsPainting
Tom Waits
11”x14”
Acrylic on Canvas

I painted this portrait of Tom Waits from a black and white reference photo using just the value information.  The skin tones were left over from my John Taylor portrait, and I created some new mixes for the more colorful skin tones.  The face colors were desaturated by mixing 1 part color and slightly less than 1 part neutral grey.  I used a large and medium flat brush for most of the painting.  This one took about 8 hours.

A short video showing the different stages of the portrait:

John Taylor

JohnTaylorPainting
John Taylor
11”x14″
Acrylic on Canvas

My goal for this practice portrait was to loosen up and not sweat the details. I painted most of it with a large flat brush and resisted the urge to smooth out all of the transitions. I think the painting has a more relaxed look as a result. This one took about 8 hours to complete.

Anthony Green

AnthonyGreenPainting
Anthony Green
11”x14”
Acrylic on Canvas

I’ve been working hard on my process lately. Identifying the shortcomings in my previous paintings and brainstorming solutions. This portrait is the culmination of everything I’ve learned so far. Question going forward: Is it worth the excruciating effort required to achieve realism or would it be better (and more enjoyable) to loosen up and let the brush strokes show? I’m leaning towards the latter…

A short video showing the different stages of the portrait: