Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rediscovering oil portraits

Self portrait 2008 - stage I
oils 16 x 20

Its been awhile since I tackled a portrait in oils. I've dabbled in small oils and acrylics over the last year but nothing larger than 8 x 10. I used to work a lot in oils, then life happened and art was put on a back burner for awhile. Now I'm getting back into paints again, though I think my first love will always be drawing.

This self portrait is 16 x 20 on a gallery canvas. I've laid down the base for it and am now frustrating myself with eyes. Doing them, wiping them, doing them, wiping them. I don't want this to be a smooth, clean portrait. I want a more painterly style, but may have to settle for something down the middle.

I hate showing initial stages of oil paintings as they look so god awful in those early stages, but its a learning process for me - or more to the point, re-learning - so any input anyone has on skin tones, palettes, etc, is more than welcome. There's not strong lighting in the reference, its not bad, but not bright.

I'll keep plugging away at it and it will come together eventually. Or I keep telling myself that!


Stacy said...

Sorry Jeanette, I don't paint with oils so I will be of no help to you. But I think this is looking good so far. Your dog portrait from yesterday's post is also looking beautiful! And it seems like you are pretty settled into your new studio space.

Jeanette said...

Thanks Stacy. I'm a bit out of practice and keep adding to it. I think I may have to let it dry for a day or so before I do more.

Yes, I love my studio. I don't think the world will see much of me for awhile. :)

Mary said...

The portrait painting is looking great Jeanette and I love the ambience and neatness of your studio.

Rose Welty said...

I just have to applaud you for posting something you are less than satisfied with. It's very helpful to see other people's ugly stages - it really is - and mine are much worse! So thanks, it's an encouragement.

Jan said...

Hurray for you doing all this exploring and especially for tackling a portrait in oils.

Were you like most of us mothers who put the paints away when our children were little & waited until they were gone from home to take them up again?

I have a book on color recipes for oil and acrylic painting by Helen Van Wyk that may be of help. I'll go look and see what she recommends and get back to you. I have a feeling that you're aiming for a style much like hers.

Again, kudos to you for just breaking out the old oils!

Jeanette said...

Thanks Mary, I'm sure I'll mess up the studio before too long. :)

Rose, I figure we all have similar stages in painting or drawing, so while I don't like it, I still show what's happening and hopefully how it will progress from here.

Jan, yes, I put the messy stuff away while the kids were small and my house wasn't big enough to have a dedicated space to paint in.

I must have a look for that book that you mentioned, it sounds useful. Thanks.

Jan said...

I sent you an email with the information - did you receive it? I've been having some problems with my outgoing mail - some people receive and others don't. It may have gone into your spam folder also as I used the farm email addy. Anyway, hope it does you some good.

Jeanette said...

I got it Jan. Thanks so much, its perfect. Just what I needed. I need to invest in a book or two on oils and colour to refresh my aging memory. :)

Robyn said...

I can't offer any advice, Jeanette having never painted a portrait in oils - apart from a copy of a Botticelli's Flora which was hardly realistic. I'm pulling up a chair to watch yours though. If I don't make a breakthrough with oils soon, I'm thinking of giving them up altogether.

Jeanette said...

Robyn, your Botticelli was lovely. I think you had a wonderful ability with that oil. I'd love to see you do more.

I know it takes time and practice to come up to speed on painting. I need an oil painting club to push me!