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Monday, February 02, 2009

More student self portraits

Eight of the students completed or revised their self portraits at home between classes or finished them today. The variety of styles and approaches to color is fascinating. This lesson has had a big impact on their ability to observe proportion and detail. Nancy's portrait here is a big improvement over her two shown in last week's blog. Her first attempt was flat and out of proportion, although it had some nice color areas. The second one was much better and had some dimension. This one is very nice, with lovely flesh tones.

Sylvia's self-portrait from a photograph is an excellent likeness. The eyes are very lifelike and beautifully painted. I also like the way she has handled her hair. Her photograph didn't show enough of the hair, so she used a different photo for that. The gray brushstrokes that define her hair are very nice. Her choices of color are pleasing, as well.

Suzanne's likeness is recognizable, if not exact. Her self portrait is nicely painted and suggests her lively personality and a twinkle in her eyes. Her hair could be developed a tiny bit more, with a slight shadow under the edge along her forehead, to give it more dimension. I like the contrast of the blues and greens with the flesh tones.

Patty was one of the brave souls who painted her self portrait using a hand mirror. This is a wonderful portrait on its own, even though it doesn't capture her sparkle and beauty. She said she didn't want to grin at the mirror, which accounts for her somber expression. Patty is excellent with children's faces in particular and had no problem with the proportions of the features.

Pat redid her portrait from last week and improved the features with more modeling and detail. In spite of the source material, which wasn't a very clear photo in the first place, she managed to do a better job this time. This does point up the importance of good reference material, though. An experienced portrait painter can "fill in the blanks," because she knows the structure of the face. For others, it's often guess work.

Maureen's self portrait is very colorful. She is bold with color and brushwork in this portrait based on a photograph. She was somewhat disappointed with the likeness, but artists often are, with their own self portraits. Everyone in the class admired this lively face.


Lynda is developing a spontaneous, expressionistic style that works well in her self portrait. The wild colors and flying brushwork are very exciting. She had problems with proportion in the lower half of the face and her eyes are somewhat enlarged, but that contributes to the expressiveness of the portrait. Working with a mirror, she discovered as others did who tried it, that it's difficult to capture proportions and likeness.

Linda's portrait of her husband from a photograph is well observed and painted. It's a good likeness and the eyes are done especially well. The colors that contrast the blue shirt with the warm tones of the rest of the picture make a harmonious portrait.

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