It Could Actually Be a Lot Worse

I’ve been playing with my left-over paints again, and I just had to see what I could do with that self-portrait image I shared yesterday. Could I paint a very simplified version of my face? I mean, seriously… not just being silly about it, but actually trying to recreate a somewhat recognizable version of my own face using only a few colors?

The idea became too tempting to resist, so I grabbed a little 5 x 7 canvas panel and began putting paint here and there, trying to get the lights and shadows in the right places. The painting that resulted — which may or may not be finished — does bear a resemblance, I think.

Judith January (2)
My first real self-portrait

I’m calling this my first real self-portrait because the few others I’ve done were anything but serious attempts. With this one, I especially wanted to pay attention to the lights and shadows, to gain an understanding how different values can be applied to create the illusion of a real human face. And, if nothing else, I do look human.

I cam away from this little painting with a smile on my face — not only in the painting but in reality, too. It could actually have been a lot worse, so while it might not qualify for a work of art, I’m happy with the painting.

What I loved most of all was the opportunity to work with very tiny brushes. So much of my impressionistic work uses large splotches of colors. This little self-portrait required a few finer lines, and I enjoyed it. This morning’s quick self-portrait gives me hope that I can learn a few finer painting techniques, that I can understand how to use lights and shadows to create forms, and that I can broaden my artistic horizons beyond simple landscapes.

I might attempt adding a few more of those lights and shadows. I might add a bit of a background color. Or not. I like the painting as it is. Not great, but seriously, folks, it could have been a lot worse!



  1. I think it’s very good too. Like you, painting people is definitely on my “to do” list at some point. It’s strange that when photography was my passion, photographing people didn’t interest me. But now watercolour painting is my passion, painting people and portraits is something I really want to do….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, I’d never thought of that before, but my experience is exactly the same. With photography, I never wanted people in my view. I wanted to focus on all the little intricacies of nature or the beauty of a view. But, yes, with art, I find myself fascinated by faces. Time after time I see someone in a crowd or come across an interesting face in a magazine, and my immediate thought is “Oh, I would love to draw/paint that face!” I’ve done charcoal portraits and soft pastel portraits for family members, and I really do enjoy doing them. I also want to do figure paintings, too. It is odd, though, how our subject interests can change so much from one art form to another.

      Liked by 1 person

I'd Love to Hear Your Thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s