When asked why painting the human figure was so important painter Scott
Burdick was matter-of-fact. “Because we are human,” he said. “If an
alien species were to come down today, they wouldn’t respond to the
human form or face like we do. Just like pictures of lobsters don’t
remind us of our parents or children. We are human, and we are most
tied up in other people and our relationships to each other.”
When it comes to choosing a subject to paint, one of the most
convenient is the face you see in the mirror every day. But
self-portraiture comes with a complicated set of questions—how do you
see yourself versus how do you present yourself? What are you trying to
communicate with the work? Who will see it and why? Perhaps the most
important questions of all: What are you as the artist hoping to get
out of the process?
If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then a painter
needs to get them right when creating a portrait. But the "oval, circle, dot"
anatomy of the eye that we all first learned as children is far removed from
how to give the illusion of a real eye in your work. Here are a few tips about
painting the eye that I like to keep in mind. I hope these will help guide you when it comes
time to depict this particular facial feature.
Kevin Macpherson is a renowned artist and instructor with 30 years of plein air painting experience. For newcomers, painting en plein air means literally, painting “in the open air,” and is the genre associated with painting outdoors. In 1996, Macpherson challenged himself to what I’d call a painting marathon or Iron Man or something equally intense.