Self-Portrait with Kerchief

Self-portrait of Emma Pittson wearing a blue kerchief against Owhiro Bay, New Zealand.
©2022, Emma Pittson, “Self-Portrait with Kerchief”. Photoshop.

January was a fantastic month for me, art-wise! I made good on my promise to do at least 15 minutes of art-making every day, and that very often grew to 30 minutes or even a full hour on the week-ends. As you know, I’m still struggling to find my genuine artistic voice, and everything I’ve ever read about it states that your voice won’t just materialize out of thin air. You’ll have to make art – and probably quite a lot of it over a long period of time – before things start to fall into place. “Quantity leads to Quality” is the order of the day.

Anyways, here is a self-portrait based on a photograph of myself taken about 15 years ago when we lived in Wellington, New Zealand. The background is the view from the mountains south of Wellington overlooking Owhiro Bay. If it looks like I’m squinting, it’s because the mid-day sun in that part of the world could be unbearable bright, making every shadow look inky-black.

I’ve never painted jewelry before, but I have to say: that earring is my favourite part of the painting!

My Daily Painting Experiment

Back in January, I started listening to a lot of art-related podcasts while I set up my studio.  One of the subjects that kept coming up was the value of daily painting.  The idea is that by painting small canvasses every day (or nearly every day), you could not only increase your productivity (obviously), but also give a serious boost to your skills.  That sounded like a win-win situation to me, so one week in February, I armed myself with a bunch of 8″ x 10″ panels and went to town (or rather, to work).  Behold the results:

Landscape1
©2016, Emma Pittson, “Lake Wanaka in Blue”. Acrylic on panel, 10″ x 8″.

I always knew that I wanted to focus on the figure in my artwork, but seeing as I didn’t have a posse of models at my disposal, I decided to try landscapes instead.  I suppose I could have simply painted images from fashion magazines, but I kinda have a problem with straight reproductions.  If you didn’t have an actual hand in composing the original image, I think that merely copying it is a bit of a rip-off (unless you specify that it’s just a study).

Landscape2
©2016, Emma Pittson, “Lake Wanaka in Orange”. Acrylic on panel, 8″ x 10″.

@2016, Emma Pittson, “South Island”. Acrylic on panel, 8″ x 10″.

All of these paintings were done from my own photos of our Best. Trip. EVER – a 2-week Xmas camping vacation through the South Island of New Zealand about 10 years ago.  We were living in Wellington at the time and decided to stay in the Antipodes over Xmas instead of hemorrhaging money on a trip back to Canada (my family’s in Montreal, his is in St. John’s, so, yeah… complicated).

Landscape3
©2016, Emma Pittson, “Lake Hawea”. Acrylic on panel, 8″ x 10″.

So what did I learn from this little experiment?  A few things:

  1. producing a finished product every day makes you feel AWESOME
  2. every painting is a chance to try something new
  3. every painting is a chance to fail, and that is a-ok
  4. landscapes, while I do enjoy them, are not something I want to do for the rest of my art career

Have you ever experimented with daily painting?  Did you love it or hate it?  And most importantly: what did you learn from it?

Landscape5
©2016, Emma Pittson, “Marble Hill”. Acrylic on panel, 8″ x 10″.