Yoni Portrait

Oil painting portrait
Yoni Portrait, oil on canvas 36 in. x 24 in., July 2018

I found doing my self-portrait enjoyable and a good break from my usual lines and angles of interior spaces, and wanted to work on more faces, fabric, and hands. Yoni modelled for me in my studio this summer 2018, and though it took many sessions of him sitting for me and detailed work, I really enjoyed doing this painting. My most recent works have all been bright and colorful, so I wanted to give richer, darker hues a try. Using a darker color palette helped make Yoni’s face and hands stand out more, which I like. The darkness also gives an air of mystery and calm, and appears more masculine than my recent paintings.

I am reasonably happy with the outcome. My favorite part is his sleeve on the right (his left arm) because I think the fabric came out convincingly, and suggests a sense of light. Looking at Yoni’s face, I realize that the likeness could be better, but I am proud of all the different colors and shadows and highlights on his face. I also like how his nose came out. As for his hair, there is a sense of texture and softness, but making the color shifts less stark would have made his hair look even softer.

Compositionally, I put Yoni upfront, pillows in the middle-ground, and a bold color in the background. I wanted to keep the background (behind the pillows) minimal in terms of shapes going on, but I wanted it to be a bold color that would complement the personality and bold gaze of my model. The rectangle behind Yoni’s head represents a painting hanging on the wall behind him. I did not look at this painting as a guide, but rather made it abstract, employing the color of the background to make it stand out, but at the same time blend in. To me, this rectangle behind his head sort of looks like all the energy and thoughts buzzing around Yoni’s brain. The colors (cream, yellow, pinky-purple) also remind me of what someone’s insides must look like. So, there is another reference to what goes on internally.

After completing this painting, I realize that my favorite parts to work on were the shadows on Yoni’s face, his clothes, and the round ottoman that he is sitting on. I really enjoy depicting areas of sharp contrast between dark and light. My least favorite areas to work on were the eyes and other detailed features of the face, and the pillows in the background. For my next painting, I might continue to explore a darker color palette, using it to strengthen my theme of interior rooms of high contrast between light and shadow. I also want to continue exploring subtler shifts in color in a smaller area such as a shirt sleeve.

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