Loose Selfie

This week’s Life Book lesson was taken by Tracy Verdugo and involved creating a self-portrait.  Verdugo actually demonstrated three different approaches to painting a loose self-portrait and each looked interesting and like something I would like to try (though maybe not using my own face over and over).  She also based her paintings on selfies she had edited using various apps.  I don’t have any photo editing apps on my phone and did not have time to download and experiment with them so I just used an unedited selfie as the basis of my painting.

25 Selfie for Self-Portrait

I did start out very loose, using ink to block in certain shapes and areas before dropping very liquid watercolour into the painting, but somewhere along the line things ended up getting very illustrative and tight again.  No matter what I do, I always seem to get “locked in” when painting even when I am trying my hardest to stay loose – such as, for instance, using large brushes as I did with his piece.  It is also not a strong likeness and I guess that is OK because I am not a portraitist but it is still a bit ridiculous that I don’t know my own face well enough to capture it more accurately.  In this self-portrait, I think what particularly went wrong is that I reduced the area of my forehead (which is so big I call it a fivehead) and I slimmed down my cheeks.  Maybe I was subconsciously flattering myself.

25 Loose Watercolour Ink Self-Portrait

16 thoughts on “Loose Selfie

  1. It’s actually pretty good and I think that you did manage to get it quite a bit looser than your usual style! I especially like your smile and shading on the face!

  2. I love it, Laura! I understand that you would like to loosen up a bit – although I think you’ve achieved that here – but you definitely have a style, a great style. I think it’s really an asset.

  3. How well I know the problem of drawing something that looks ‘a bit like’ someone. Have you tried drawing on a much bigger scale? Or using a long (1 metre) stick dipped in ink? These are the sorts of things that have helped me (although I still have a long way to go).

  4. Ha! “Five-head”! And I’d still know this was a self-portrait, plus I think there is a nice bit of looseness and flow to the piece too! Do you think you’ll try out some of the other techniques as well if you get a chance?

    • I definitely think I’ll try some of the other techniques when I have more free time (which is an actual possibility over summer break) and I may even try working with funkily edited photos as my starting point. I just didn’t have time to learn how to do that at this juncture.

      • Yikes, tell me about it! I’d need them to add an extra 4 usable hours to every day so I could try out all the new things I want to learn. Here’s hoping that you get loads of free time over the coming months! 😀

  5. I think drawing a self portrait is the hardest thing to do. I think when an artist draws herself she tends to be “too close” to the subject and starts substituting symbols for what she “knows” to be there – instead of really looking in an open-minded fashion like one does with an unknown portrait subject. Even drawing a portrait of my own dog is harder than drawing someone else’s beloved dog. Sigh. I know – artist troubles. Regarding getting illustrative and tight or “locked in” (as you put it) despite trying to be free and loose: I had a fellow professional artist tell me an eon ago that the “I keep doing X when I try to do Y” feeling is just a sign of your personal style being born/coming out. The trick is to just relax and go with it – accepting what comes from your hand and just trying to do whatever that is the best you can. You’re doing great! Keep it up!!

    • Thank you for the wonderful comment and sage advice, Sue. I keep trying new things to stop me getting in a rut and stop my getting creatively rusty but I need to balance that out against going with my own style. Thank you, as always, for your creative wisdom.

      • Lol! Well I don’t know about “wisdom” but I’m always happy to share creative life adventures with a friend! With you in solidarity on creatively trying new things!!

  6. I like the way that you stylized the portrait, simplifying forms and creating a composition that works. I often get too involved with the face and tend to forget everything around it.

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