portraits

Self Portrait Creativity Challenge

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By nature, I am more of an abstract painter, one who relies on intuition rather than being influenced by the world around me. However, last year I took a few still life painting and figure drawing classes with the very talented Holly Storlie at Gamut Gallery. I just felt like I needed that extra boost, and I don’t think I could have executed this painting last night without Holly’s guidance from last year in class.

The Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana promoted a Self Portrait Creativity Challenge this week and I painted mine late last night. I spent more time on this portrait than any other one I’ve ever painted. To get better at portraits, I plan to paint a self portrait every month for the rest of this year. I may also paint portraits of others in addition to my monthly self portrait.

Really the only part of this painting I’m not happy with is my nose. It appears flat and I’m sure I can fix it with more shadows and highlights. I reworked it a couple times already and I’m still not happy with it so I think I’m going to grab a canvas panel tonight and paint my nose however many times it takes to get it right. Then I’ll copy the same technique of the best one onto my self portrait.

I would love to hear from others who paint portraits and how you gained some mastery in creating them. For me it’s practice, practice, practice from here on out!

Cheers!

P.S. And maybe I should change the title of this one from “Self Portrait 2020-2” to “I Hate Painting Noses.” 🤣

portraits

“The Imaginaries” – daily small charcoal portraits

I am a visual artist living in Southwestern Indiana who publishes art related blog posts regularly. Sign up to receive updates from my blog at the bottom of this page. 😊

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It’s a new year, and as usual I am trying new things with my art and having a blast. This week I signed up for figure drawing/painting classes at Gamut Gallery as I have no formal training in that area and would like to learn as much as I can. Just in the first class I learned so much. The three portraits above are ones that I have completed since class on Monday and the one below is from class, where we drew from a live model.

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Laura, Charcoal, 2019, created in figure drawing class

I’m finding charcoal drawing to be so much fun because it’s so dynamic. The charcoal nearly lifts off the paper so you can change, add, and subtract easily.  Another reason I am quickly starting to love charcoal is that it is extremely portable and great for on-location projects. This morning I went to Starbucks to draw, which is where Chandler was born (the portrait at the top right).

My supplies are minimal and consist of just vine charcoal sticks, a few charcoal pencils for fine details, an eraser, and a sharpener. I mostly just use the charcoal sticks so far though because the thickness of the sticks helps me create looser drawings. I keep all of these supplies in a very small pencil case that is easy to carry around, as shown below.

I never thought I would enjoy drawing so much and this is the first time I’ve ever used charcoal. I will always paint, but I plan to incorporate charcoal drawing into my life via daily (I hope) quick, small drawings. These small 5x7s I can complete in a short enough time that I should be able to finish one each day…or at least on most days, and still have time to paint as well.

I am using reference photos for these drawings but I am calling them “The Imaginaries” because they don’t really exist, not in my world anyway. They aren’t people I know. I’m having fun giving all of them names, too. It feels as if I am giving birth each day to a new character. 🙂

If you are looking for a dynamic and portable drawing medium, try charcoal!

Cheers!
Lori

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