Coloring my face


This is a first color pass on top of the brown grisaille self-portrait I started in on last Friday; I gave the entire painting a go with semi-transparent color glazes to try and build color information on top of the values-only underpainting.

I’m not really satisfied with my work here.  The skin tone feels sort of flat, the glazing of the flesh tint I mixed sort of washing out the underpainting more than I expected.  I was imagining a thinner, more transparent glaze, is part of it, but I added about as much linseed oil and solvent as I felt like was doable without getting into seriously ruinous territory and still didn’t get glass-clear glazes.

Having mixed the colors in some cases with white may be part of that; I understand that can add opacity even while otherwise thinning the paint out.

The previous glazing stuff I’ve done has been for abstract Menger sponge stuff (of which, I should do a round-up post on those soon) and being a bit more reckless in just mixing up Neo Megilp and smearing the stuff all over the canvas.  I felt like maybe that wasn’t the way to go here, but I wonder if I’d have been happier with the results?  Or it might have been an awful mess.

Definitely I’m in really out-of-my-depth experimental territory on this.  Which is interesting and worth embracing but it makes it a lot more likely that I’ll do something, not like it, and feel dispirited and let that get to me.

There’s also a feeling of fear in ruining something’s charm by trying to elaborate on it, and all else aside I really did find that initial grisaille charming.  It was sketchy, certainly, but sketches have a lot of attraction for some reason.

Will continue to work on this, and see if I can figure out more of what I’m doing and what I want.  Doing more work in particular on the skin tone to try and create an effect I’m happy with.  I just need patience.

Author: Josh Millard

I manage and help moderate the community website MetaFilter, where I go by "cortex"; in my spare time I get up to all sorts of creative nerdery on the internet and in Portland, Oregon.

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