Another digital portrait from last year (or maybe even earlier!) that I’m only posting now (woops!). This is not the first time I’ve painted this model. What can I say? The proportions of her face just seem so mathematically perfect to me!
I really miss doing portraits. I am this close to putting the call out on Facebook or Instagram asking for people to send me pictures of them just so I don’t have to fall back on self-portraits or pestering my immediate family to pose for me.
I experimented with a new (well, new to me) digital art software last year called ArtRage. It styles itself as a “natural” painting software, which I guess means that they don’t over-burden the program with all kinds of photo editing doodads and just keep to the essentials. ArtRage also limits their brushes to only a few wet and dry media, palette knives and the like, so if you’re new to digital art, you’re less likely to feel overwhelmed. Best of all, they make very believable visible brush strokes, which is what first drew me to the software. Oh, and the price is very affordable – always a good thing! I had an easier time negotiating the colour palette in Artrage in comparison with Photoshop, but blending turned out to be a little difficult (but then, maybe I just haven’t experimented with it enough).
When I made this, I was trying to get away from working from images found on the internet, but Salem Mitchell has such glorious freckles that I couldn’t resist!
On a whim, I decided last week to crack open one of my many vintage magazines and see if I could reproduce an image. I am beyond amazed that I actually managed to 1) finish something, and 2) find that I’m happy with the result, especially considering how flat and grainy the original image was! I especially wanted to throw in the towel once I got to rendering the hair (never my strong suit). Let’s hear it for perseverence!
To me, this portrait is a direct result of all the practice, practice, practice that began with the portrait studies of the “30 Paintings in 30 Days” challenge. Even though the reference image had matte colours and little light information, I had completed enough portraits over the last few years to be able to fill in the blanks. There’s no way I would have been able to do this without having put myself through that “boot camp”!
The time has come to set aside landscapes and dive back into portraiture!
And wouldn’t you know it? I got so used to landscapes that I found this portrait to be a bit more of a challenge than I had anticipated. This image represents a few days of work, at least! Of course, I walked into it thinking “I’ll just keep it fresh, and loose, and, you know… painterly” and, well, THAT went out the window pretty quickly. I think it’s a leftover reaction to my art school days when we never had enough time to finish anything, and even if we did, we were always discouraged from painting anything that looked too realistic (“skillful”, some might say). With no teachers or peers around me, I can noodle to my heart’s content – and so I do!
Anyways, this is Yola, a model with a Russian modelling agency called Lumpen. Their entire roster is comprised of Real People, which I think is very cool.
I think we can dispense with all pretense that I’m in any way keeping up with the “30 Paintings in 30 Days” challenge. So now that that’s out of the way, let me just say that this is my favourite “hair painting” so far. Not only did I let myself get carried away with details (so much for “daily” painting), but bonus! I also took the reference photo myself, so, FINALLY, I can claim to have created an original painting. Many thanks to my lovely and patient model, S-A, who’s probably convinced by now that she works with weirdos.