After developing an unnatural dependency on my galoshes and stocking my
kitchen shelves with an outrageous amount of sugary sweets in case of
snowstorms, I’ve come to realize that it is nice to be on the inside,
cozy and warm, looking out. My creature comforts appreciation has
definitely also influenced the kind of painting composition that I’ve
been into lately: the interior.
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?
breaking down even
the most complex painting into just a handful of shapes. Painter
Ron Hicks has found that the process of painting a portrait can be
intimidating, if not overwhelming, to even the most practiced painters
because a lot of detail is often confused with what makes a successful
portrait. For Hicks, it is just the opposite. Hicks believes
that a powerful portrait--or painting of any subject, for that
not in the details, but in the fundamental forms of a composition. A
well-executed portrait is one that describes a person's face or bearing
with just a few shapes. Just as you can probably
identify a friend or loved one from a distance because you know the
general structure of their face and head, you can paint a portrait by
representing those same large masses.
Trying to capture the likeness of a person in a finite period of time
and meeting the high expectations often associated with portraiture are
far from effortless tasks. They take commitment and savvy to do well.
Our eBook Oil Painting Lessons on How to Paint a Portrait: 15 Portrait Painting Techniques from Artist Daily
is a guide to portrait artist John Howard Sanden’s process. Sanden
unpacks the development of a portrait into a series of sequential steps
that allows an artist to feel assured about what he or she is doing
when painting oil portraits.
I’m starting this year by reassessing my approach to painting and
recommitting to more concentrated studio time. I don’t necessarily feel
that I want to completely revamp my process, but there are a few old
habits that I want to break and a few new ones I want to instill. I’ve
found that the more people I tell about my plans, the more likely I am
to follow through, so here are my painting resolutions for the New Year:
I had the pleasure of meeting artist Christopher Pugliese recently, and thumbed through the catalog—hot off the presses—that will soon be out to accompany his solo museum show at the New Britain Museum of American Art. The exhibition, New/Now: Christopher Pugliese Paintings and Drawings, 1995-2010 is a retrospective of sorts and is up through January 23, 2011.