Self Portrait #11

Self Portrait #11, ©Brenda Clews 2019. 18"x24" (cropped), oil on canvas.

August 25, 2019

A resemblance to me is actually developing after eleven drawings and paintings! While this mirror self-portrait looks more like me, I'm told I'm still making myself look older than I am. Ah, well... lol!

This was my last painting in my spare room studio since it has been rented out. I've learned a lot about painting this summer because of the wonderful Self Portrait Sundays Facebook group and the weekly challenge to do a self portrait from life and am very appreciative. Normally, I don't have space to work in oil and acrylic so consistently - having a studio gave me the chance to experiment and, I hope, get better. I mostly painted one angle, though, since the space between bed and desk in the spare room didn't allow much maneuvering. I think painting the same pose over and over resulted in a better understanding of bone structure, musculature, skin tones and expression - I learnt to smile while staring intently into the mirror, too! In the background, the futon couch I've been sitting on to paint. Favourite new straw hat - it's blue!

Underpainting for Self-Portrait #11, ©Brenda Clews 2019. 18"x24", acrylic on canvas.

August 11, 2019

Today I covered a 18"x24" canvas in red acrylic paint, and then sketched myself in turquoise-phthalo. Very bright! Lol. I consider these self-portraits as ways to experiment with techniques and styles and, currently, I'm playing with underpainting. My plan is to paint skin tones, etc., overtop of this when I have time. Hopefully, I'll post the finished painting next Sunday.


Self Portrait #10

August 18, 2019

Don't know what to say of the journey to here or where I might be going.

Below is the underpainting in acrylic, and above, the next day, and many hours later, the portrait in traditional oils. Still learning! There's so much paint on it that I'm not sure I can work much more with it! Time to stop! Oils on a Dollarama 8”x10” canvas.

The underpainting, done August 17, 2019, took about an hour. The leftover acrylic palette from a bad commission experience, which probably fed into the painting- my 'sturm und drang'! Wanted to try painting in a different way to my normal mode. Overworked a little for sure - acrylics, even with retarder, dry so quickly you can't blend. It came out expressionistic. The proportions! From now on, I must draw or map out where the features of the face are before painting. I may try to fix it in oils, or not. A not-very-success self portrait on a Dollarama 8”x10” canvas.


Self Portrait #9

Self Portrait #9, ©Brenda Clews 2019, 14"x8", oil on canvas sheet.

August 4, 2019

Wanted to get a painting done quickly. Ha! Started with a wash composed of scrapings from a former palette that seems to have buckled the canvas sheet. The paint on the face is thick - learning to slather it on - and the different colours have different reflective qualities. It needs more work I think, but later on when it's drier, I can even out the tones and varnish will smooth out the reflectiveness. Or not. Who knows. This is a crop of a larger painting and I used it as a profile picture for a poetry event where I'm one of the featured readers.


Self-Portrait #8 (continuing to evolve as a painter)

Self-Portrait #8, ©BrendaClews 2019, 18"x24", oil on canvas sheet.

My 8th self-portrait for the Sunday Self Portrait group on Facebook (they gave it lots of likes but not one comment). On a green underpainting, I painted the figure directly, shaping the face without a drawing. The paint is applied thickly from a left-over palette from a commission. Pulled straps down to see the bone structure - those clavicles - I never go around like this! I look a decade older but don't care. I didn't work on the eyes, nose or mouth with a fine brush like I normally do. Everything's done with thick scrubby brushes. My portrait painting is continuing to evolve and that makes me happy. 


#7 Self Portrait Sundays (oil)

Self Portrait ©Brenda Clews, July 14, 2019

This is my 7th self-portrait so far, and I am still getting used to my face! Was trying to work on volume in this one. Also, as ever, to accurately paint what I see in the mirror. I am frustrated with lots of things in this painting, but enough is enough. Started on Friday, finished this morning. Oil on canvas sheet, 24"x18".

Friends have called me on the 'stern' look - uh, no. Rather... the self-scrutinizing gaze in the mirror trying to get the damn face in paint, and not liking how it's going!

The plain face, no make-up, alone in the privacy of intense concentration. The self painting the self in solitary scrutiny without thought to the social face.


#6 Self Portrait Sundays (acrylic)

Self Portraits ©Brenda Clews, July 5, 2019

Acrylic on canvas sheet, 24"x18". Still using up leftover paint on a stay-wet palette. I find acrylic a challenge since it dries so quickly and covers the layers underneath completely if you're not careful. Somewhat okay with this self portrait (DSLR in daylight), even with all the errors to my eye, and with the spooky early version (iPhone photo at night). Going to toss that old palette, yes! :}



#5 Sunday Self Portrait (acrylic)

Self Portrait ©Brenda Clews, June 23, 2019

A continued probing of the self, my 5th self-portrait here. I had a 'Stay-Wet' palette of leftover acrylics from another project and thought to use them. Yeah, like how many hours later! It's hard work, guys. I almost blame it on the 2-dimensional nature of the mirror image where the person (yourself) has no actual volume in space. We have to imagine in to ourselves. A behatted self! 12"x14", acrylic on a canvas sheet.


#3 Sunday Self Portrait (ink sketch)

Self Portrait, ©Brenda Clews, June 9, 2019

This was done in an unforgiving permanent blue document ink (De Atramentis) with a Franklin-Christoph fountain pen. And then some off-white conté that matches the paper to try to 'fix' it! These ink drawings are challenging. Haven't worked with this pen much (a new fude nib) and need to learn how to use it. It's 11"x15" on Strathmore watercolour paper. Photo taken in fading light!


# 2 Sunday Self Portrait (watercolour)

Self Portrait, © Brenda Clews, June 2, 2019

Almost finished or perhaps never to be finished - this painting taught me to check on neck length! Watercolour, 14" x 20", Arches paper. Earlier version also shown.

Doing this one reminded me how much I love watercolours!


#1 Sunday Self-Portrait (sketch)

Just joined a lovely group where you post self-portraits done only on Sunday, and absolutely not from a photograph. It was such a busy day, but, after an early evening meditation, I dove into a quick graphite sketch as the light was fading - it's page size. The self-portrait is a bit fierce, but hey I 'am' concentrating! I look forward to some self-exploration in the months ahead and seeing many wonderful self-portraits by members of the group.

Also, I need to re-take this since I hadn't balanced the lighting for the photo, or I might not.

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