01 May 2009


watercolor on Arches CP 300gsm, 14" x 10".

it has been a while since i've done a decent self, and the pic i've been using on facebook and elsewhere, all in green with glaring purple eyes, makes me look like a stalker. so i did this one in a couple of days, between trinity paintings, to get my image up to date.

i used the tripod and shutter delay to pose in front of a studio wall. i chose the yellow wall because it is sunny and cheerful, and after all summer is icumen in and laud sang obama.

i am physiologically smile impaired. my normal smile is more like a smirk, and anything that shows teeth makes me look like i'm clenching for a dental exam. some people are gifted with a smile that sits in their face like a nightingale in the golden tree. anyway, i took about 20 photos to get one that looked human.

background is cadmium yellow deep; sweater is perylene maroon and phthalo green. flesh tones are benzimida maroon (a great portrait shadow color), pyrrole orange, cadmium scarlet and burnt sienna, all over a base tone of titanium zinc antimony stannate (winsor & newton "turner's yellow"). this turned out to be too lemony for a good flesh highlight, so i knocked it down with a very light glaze of manganese violet, which was also used (with phthalo green) to mute and darken the shadow modeling. used a gray of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna to rough in the hair, and a dulled mixture of olive green for texture.


Susan Beauchemin said...

Great self portrait! I'm passing an award on to you--check out my site for details.

Joshua said...

This is very late, but there's a great book by Gary Faigin on recognizing and depicting facial expressions. A smile is one of the simplest since it only requires two muscles. When you add more (to show more teeth, or what have you) it does look fake. In this particular portrait I think you've got it right -- a slight smile, but not a huge one.