Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Model That's Always There...

Okay, okay. Before you call me a narcissist, let me explain why I paint so many self portraits.

1. The model is FREE.
2. I can paint at any time without having to schedule it.
3. It allows for some crazy experimentation.
4. It allows for more practice working with a model that doesn't hold still.

There are many more reasons, but those a few of the main ones. 

Today I did a quick self portrait in about an hour and a half. The inspiration was, ironically, that I had no inspiration, but still felt like I should paint for a little while, at least. Recently, I put up some beautiful vintage-looking curtains in my studio. They block out direct sunlight without overly darkening the room, and the colors are lovely. I've been thinking about setting up a model in front of the curtains for a figure painting with dramatic design and silhouette, but first I thought it best to experiment with the colors and values, using the model I always have at my disposal. I'm not concerned that the finished painting looks like a mugshot; I think the idea comes across, and the values look really cool. Now I'm excited to hire a model and see how this particular lighting will look with a figure!

Backlit Study with Vintage Curtains - 10x8 - oil on Raymar panel 

The picture below is just a detail shot of a painting still in the works. Here again, I was experimenting with back-lighting, this time using my computer screen as the backdrop. I'm fascinated by the glow that happens along the edges of areas with extreme contrast.

The painting below is tiny - just 6x6". I did this one a while ago but never shared it with the public. I was playing with brushwork, color intensity, and "reacting" quickly to what I saw. I like the spontaneity of it and should probably do some more studies like it.



  1. Lovely! So this week, my goal is to do at least one self portrait, practicing what I learned on Wednesday with you. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. I agree with your ideas about self-portraits. Because art is a way of expressing oneself, the self is the perfect model.

  3. Hi Anna, I found you through WPW and was touched by your Nurturer painting.
    I like to paint self portraits, too. As with two small children, I can't "schedule" time for models. So a mirror is all I need. Nice to meet you :)

  4. wow this work is beautiful! please check out my blog

  5. I love your work!
    My two favorites are the "Nuturer" and the second portrait with the computer screen as the backdrop.

    Great work


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