I wasn’t satisfied with the two ink and watercolor end-of-journal self-portraits (below) that completed the 8×10″ Moleskine I was working in back in June. Rose Frantzen had told me during my workshop with her that I had wonderful skin to paint and should be doing lots of self-portraits from life in oil. So I decided to give it a try.
I only had couple of hours left in the day for painting so chose a small 6×6″ panel that already had a dark background from wiping off a previous failed painting. I turned off most of the lights in the studio except for one pointing at my face from the left and one overhead light behind me. I clamped a mirror to the easel and started painting. What a surprise: after a couple of hours I’d made my most favorite self-portrait ever.
I know it’s not perfect but I don’t think it calls for perfecting; it’s just a moment in time and a record of a very enjoyable but short painting session.
Below are the two in my sketchbook. I was in a really grumpy mood and struggling with the drawing on the first one and it shows (below):
A few days later I tried again:
I was in a much better mood. I put my birthday bouquet on the table between me and the mirror and started drawing. It was confusing trying to combine what was real and what was mirror image. It’s a dorky drawing of me but I like the flowers.
Isn’t it amazing how emotions and mood show in a drawing or painting? It’s like there are two different people in these two sketches: mean, tense, bossy-lady and sweet, flowery, dorky girl.