Self-Portrait in Studio

oil painting
Self-Portrait in Studio, oil on canvas 36 in. x 24 in., February 2018

I am happy with how my self-portrait came out. During the actual process, I was pleasantly surprised how my features came alive as I painted them onto the canvas. I completed my face and neck first, then my arms, hair, shirt, and finally apron.

To begin, I painted the canvas this yellow-y beige color that spontaneously arose from mixing, and then with white, drew the contours of surrounding shapes. The squares in the background are outlines of paintings that hang on the wall behind me, which I see in the mirror. The diagonal line in the foreground is my canvas. In my initial oil pastel sketch of my portrait, I drew the details of the background more fully, but as I developed my oil painting, I began to enjoy the minimalist, one-dimensional background in contrast to my 3D, very realistically portrayed figure.

Sometimes I think that the uncompleted look of the surroundings reveals the transitional period I am in life right now. I am developing my true artistic style and technique, and I am unsure of how my final portfolio will turn out, what graduate program I will attend, and what career path lay in my future. I only know that painting excites me, I am getting good at it, and I am willing to dedicate my time to learning and growing. Reflecting these sentiments, my expression in the portrait is quite determined and very focused-looking. My hand is strong and poised, and it looks like I am recording whatever I am painting with confidence. This painting shows me that I have skill in portraiture, and also reminds me that I really love to paint fabric. As with faces, I see so much expression in fabric folds.

Perhaps for my next painting, I will set up a still-life of draped fabrics to further practice rendering the movement and malleability of cloth. I want to show a freshness and sense of life.

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