Alex_detail

“Alexander” (detail), 2014. 16″x20″, oil on canvas.

 

This is a detail of a painting that I’ve been working on of a friend. It’s very close to completion. He came and sat for me for a couple of sessions so I could block in the initial parts of the painting. Since then I’ve been working from reference photos that I took of him. This is an important piece for me because it’s the first “real deal” type of portrait commission that I’ve had in a long time. This is also the first time that I’ve ever had to set up the pose myself. Sure I’ve seen my instructors do it in classes that I’ve taken, but it’s a daunting task to me. It seems like they always knew the perfect way to light the subject, there has to be a science to it that I’m not privy to. Or, maybe I’m over-thinking it (it’s possible!). I was able to figure something out in the end so that’s all that matters. The experience has definitely made me feel a little bit more official as an artist. Just a little bit…

Even though I’ve been painting on/off for a while now, being a professional artist is still a new role to me at this point. In conversations I refer to myself as an artist or painter, but it’s more of a “fake it ’til I make it” type of thing. There’s still a slight hesitation before I spit the word out. Maybe it has a lot to do with my perception of what a “working artist” is? Or maybe I think I need to reach a certain point in my art career before it seems 100% real to me? Either way, assuming the title of “artist”, while necessary, is still a new thing for me and I’m not always comfortable with doing it, honestly. I don’t know if I should admit that or not, but hey, there it is. No point in frontin’ about it. What’s also new to me is this impressionistic style that has emerged in my work earlier this year. I’m still figuring it out and tweaking it with each new piece. I think if I was going through this at an earlier time in life I would’ve gotten easily frustrated with this stage, maybe even doubted myself or given up. However I don’t feel any of that at all, I’m just going with it. It’s actually been fun and exciting to see how I approach each painting or idea with this new style, not frustrating or confusing at all. So I’m looking forward to what else comes from this. Other people seem to be just as interested in what happens too – and that’s an energy that definitely adds fuel to the fire.

So I’m wrapping up this painting of my friend, continuing with the looser brushwork and broken color approach. I’m really happy with the way that it’s come along. He looks so dreamy here to me and it makes me laugh a little only because that’s not exactly the look that I was going for, it’s just what came out. I have to wonder if there was a subconscious element that transferred onto the canvas while I was working. I think my intention was for his painting to have more of a serious expression to it, like most traditional portraiture. However no matter my intentions in the beginning of a piece, when I work from a subject or model the end result is the gist of what I see on the outside (likeness, anatomical measurements) plus whatever I may be able to see in the person (unique features, personality, emotional elements). I can never foresee the outcome. This time that combination resulted in a dreamy-looking dude as a portrait of my friend. I don’t think I want to venture too far into what THAT could mean, lol.

Immediately after this one I’ll be diving into a couple of other projects that are on deck. There’s a portrait competition that I’d like to enter, and a couple of shows in the winter that I will be participating in. I’m really anxious to start working on those and start posting about that process.