Entering into the second semester of my sophomore year at Calvin excited me because I got to take another painting class; however, I was nervous about the canvas sizes the class would be working with – 30×40 was the minimum size allowed! We were also painting with oil paints, which is a medium that I’ve dabbled in only a few times.
The first assignment was to do a painting of a landscape, so I decided to use one of the pictures I took while studying abroad in Indonesia. I was a little nervous because I really wanted to capture the beauty of the nature foliage of this paradise
I’m very satisfied with the final piece, and now that it’s been a few weeks I might go back and make a few changes with a new set of eyes. The most difficult part was definitely the variety of greens that I had to make – also, doing the closer foliage in a more impasto style was not easy because I tend to do my paintings in a more detailed and methodical way.
For my next painting, I got to do a self-portrait… The reason why so many artists have plenty of self-portraits in their portfolios is because every time an artist sits down to paint, he/she is always present regardless of the subject matter. It’s easy to paint yourself in the sense that you don’t have to find someone to sit for you and not do anything for such a long time. The problem with doing self-portraits is that you get sick of looking at your face real fast.
The first self-portrait that I did (that I have record of) was done in elementary school for my art class (pictured above). I, personally, love the green swirls in the background and the dark lip, but something tells me that most wouldn’t consider this “fine art”. In comparison to my elementary school self-portrait, the first serious self-portrait that I did was during my senior year of high school for AP Drawing. We were supposed to do a surrealist self-portrait through the use of symbolism. I chose a fox to symbolize my wit, and a vine to show my loyalty and stability.
Once I got to college… I had to do another self portrait, but this time I had to do it from life. They say that your skin has a underlying colors, but I think I painted a rainbow under my skin, because at one point my face was just a bunch of crazy colors.
I’ve slowly become better at getting the proportions correct, and I am very pleased with my most recent self-portrait (pictured below). I know that in a few months I’ll look back on it and realize how much I’ve improved. It’s been just a few weeks since I’ve put this painting aside, and I can already see things that I’d like to change in it.
For the third painting I did this semester, I referenced an image by the wonderful photographer Lumi Tuomi, who’s work is really effective at capturing subtle femininity and delicate strength in everyday things. Her work is vey aesthetically pleasing and I enjoyed adding subtle details that could change the entire mood of the painting, like the faint line of the veins in the extended arm and the shadows of the leaves.