This study could be a portrait or self-portrait.  Whichever you choose, the aim is to convey character trough facial expression.

Warming up in my sketch book, knowing it would be a self portrait …..


Warm ups sketches with biro










Using a mirror and acrylic, some five minute quickies……



Having done these it became apparent that to paint myself with a facial expression would be tricky and end in face-ache!! So I the decide to try and take some photos in the mirror.




Ha Ha….so that went well!!!   Oh Dear!

Finally did get one or two to use.  I decided I wanted to try for something different, I had been looking at the work of contemporary artist Andrew Salgado.

In his portraits the subjects interplay with the background.  To varying degrees, they sometimes become completely immersed to a point where it is difficult to separate subject to ground.  There are abstract elements to interacting with the figure..

The photo I finally chose to work from was….



Deciding the expression could be fed up or day dreaming…. I went for day dreaming.

I then took this picture into photoshop to see what would happen….





In this one I scribbled using the photoshop tools making a random background and added the picture in “Darken” mode







Here I chose an image from the internet and  placed the photo on top in “overlay”




Trying to think through how to achieve this sort of thing in paint, I decided to paint a colourful background and allow it to show through the face.

Beginning with a pink and blue acrylic background, swirling the colours together on a very wet paper. I then faintly in which chalk added the approximate position of the face. Beginning with a quick painting of he face, using oil paint.



Here I left it to get some sleep, bit of an error as the paint obviously started to dry which ultimately meant I couldn’t get as much of it off again…. as I had planned.






Final painting, using a q-tip and white spirit I took out some of the colour and let the background show through.


I am very pleased with the final picture, I have remained loose in the painting and had fun with trying an different approach. I have enjoyed the oils, but for something like this there would need to be a little more planning, I left them too long for the wiping away process.

It would be interesting to try this sort of painting on a much larger scale as I feel you could get an even more free brush stroke.