Tag Archives: canvas

John Taylor

John Taylor
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.

Mark Hollis

Mark Hollis
Acrylic on Canvas

This is the fourth painting in my portrait series of early 80s musicians — Mark Hollis of Talk Talk.

I had two basic goals for this painting:
1) Start with a large brush and only switch to smaller brushes for specific details.  I have a bad habit of getting bogged down with detail too early in the process which tends to give the painting a more “tortured” look.  I think I achieved this goal.
2) Don’t obsessively blend.  In past paintings, I feel like I spent too much time blending paint to produce smooth skin tones, etc.  This is often very laborious and, in the end, can create a less compelling finished product.  For this painting, I took a very casual approach letting the brush strokes shine through.

Self Portrait #2

“Self Portrait #2”
Acrylic on Canvas

This is my second self portrait and it was a challenging one.  I made a lot of mistakes and learned some good lessons:

  1. Use a smaller canvas when you’re painting something that is new or challenging for you.  I chose a rather large (for me) 16″x20″ canvas for this project..  As a result, all of my mistakes took so much longer to fix which was frustrating.  Also, having to fill so much canvas real estate meant that the painting took me four days to complete.  By the end of the painting, I was at the end of my patience and didn’t have the drive to fix some of the remaining defects.
  2. Take the time to mix your skin colors correctly.  It’s better to spend an extra 20 minutes getting it right than to spend an extra 1-2 hours fixing it later.
  3. When roughing in the dark colors for the underpainting, make your edges soft.  Also, be careful not to make areas too dark as you can end up fighting to lighten them later.  Water down your burnt umber (or whatever paint your using) to make areas lighter.

My hope is that, as I practice more and gain more skill, I can start moving from realistic depictions to more painterly representations.  In the future, I would like to produce the above image as an underpainting on which I can build from to create a bolder finished product.  However, at my current skill level, I’m ecstatic to be able to produce this.

Here’s a short video showing the different stages of the painting:



Acrylic on canvas