Re-Visiting My First Painting

©2022, Emma Pittson, “Lake Wanaka in Blue II”. Photoshop.

After my self-portrait, I had a little spate of bad luck art-wise. While January was a really productive month, February has been one failed art experiment after another. I’m also trying to pep-talk myself back into picking up an actual paint brush and committing to a decent-sized canvas, but it’s slow-going for now. I’ve had this digital re-paint of my very first acrylic paint from 2016 on the back-burner for a few months now, and because it’s good for morale to actually FINISH things, this seemed like the perfect time to wrap it up.

When I look back on the original painting, I’m struck by how every single brush stroke looks nervous and hesitant. I had internalized so much negativity from my time at art school that it’s a miracle I’d managed to paint anything at all. I may not be as productive, nor as consistent, as I’d like to be, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come since this first painting.

Lake Wanaka sunset in blue new Zealand
©2016, Emma Pittson, “Lake Wanaka in Blue”. Acrylic on panel, 10″ x 8″.

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!

Tomatoes!

©2022, Emma Pittson, “Tomatoes”. Photoshop.

A study of tomatoes from an Instagram #foodpaintchallenge launched by @dennispfeil.art and @alaiganuza. The last time I did a still-life was way back in the mists of time (a.k.a. art school). This is NOT my area of expertise, but I’m determined to spend 2022 experimenting as much as possible with my art, so I decided to give it a go. Let’s face it: it’s always refreshing to branch out and do something different for a change. Are more still-life paintings in my future? Well, there’s no arguing with their convenience: you can probably find an abundance of subject matter in your own home, and you don’t have to deal with either changeable weather, or finding models. Maybe I can find a use for all this household clutter after all!

Paintover

©2022, Emma Pittson, “September 23 Paintover”. Photoshop.

One of the advantages of digital painting software is that you can easily block out new ideas without wasting any paint (this is especially good for us cheapskates!). Remember this unfinished painting from the “30 Paintings in 30 Days” challenge? One of the reasons why it ground to a halt was because I had doubts about keeping the gauzy scarf around her shoulders white or if I should go with a bolder colour – forest green, for example.

To be honest, I’m liking the addition of a coloured background more than the idea of adding a scarf, so I just might keep it like this. Of course, if anyone else has an idea they’d like to share, please feel free to do so!

Second Mayowa Nicholas Study

©2019, Emma Pittson, “Mayowa Nicholas Face Study II”. Photoshop.

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.