Art, Figure Painting, oil painting, Self portrait, Sketching

One hour self portrait

one hour self portrait
10″ x 8″ oil on canvas

I have been admiring Kathryn Law’s one hour self portraits and that sounded like a pretty good exercise. I also recently watched a portrait painting demonstration video by Daniel Green. Daniel’s process is to premix several skin tones in 6 gradations. He uses a very different palette than I as well. So, I decided to combine two experiments and try out the palette and premixed skin tones while attempting to complete a portrait sketch in 60 minutes. It seemed like a great idea since having the paint premixed should make it go faster.

This was a disaster. After mixing all these piles of paint, I looked in the mirror and didn’t see any of the colors I’d mixed. Of course a masterful painter could still produce a good painting. Afterall, it’s more about the values than the colors. But this was not a masterful painter, it was me and I choked. Trying to paint quickly with unfamiliar colors was too much and I ended up wiping it down after about 30 minutes. And I didn’t enjoy it at all.

After a break, I did the painting above using my familiar palette and completed it in 60 minutes and had a lot more fun.

8 thoughts on “One hour self portrait”

  1. Hey Bill, thanks for coming by my blog today. I see you’re practicing the time honoured exercise of self portraiture. I’ve been watching Kathryn’s progress with her 60 minute self portraits. Interesting isn’t it? I said I might try it but you actually did it. Kudos!


  2. Thanks for visiting Silvina. You are one of the painters I look to for inspiration in figure painting. Happy Holidays.


  3. Hi Bill! I’ve been following your blog now and then (when I have the time!) and as an artist and teacher, (no blog, tho…I don’t know how you find the time….but I’m glad you do) I do not think everyone needs a ‘focus’. I do what you do….watercolors one day, pastels another, tempera another and a variey of topics. I think that is A-OK. I really like your self portrait. I used to do them quite often, but these days the image in the mirror is different….Oh, well…(born 1948..) sigh
    Keep painting and keep sharing…isn’t the internet wonderful?
    Merry Christmas to you!!


  4. Bill, this is great!! And now you’ve really got me thinking, because I’ve been starting out with a bunch of little piles of pre-mixed skin tones (!!) so now I’m inspired to try it your way, and trust myself to mix as I go. I think your skin tones in this are beautiful, and the way you’ve captured the expression in the eyes is wonderful.


  5. Ambera and Sylvina,

    Thanks for your comments. I look forward to seeing your 60 minute self portraits on your blogs.



  6. Hi Kathy,

    Thanks for visiting. I wouldn’t say I didn’t like the idea of having premixed colors. I just didn’t like the ones that DG used. I actually did try to premix what I thought I would use but didn’t use them either. I made a not to self to be more observant when I paint and notice what colors I tend to mix. I’m a very disorganized painter, always have been.

    Thanks for the inspiration to try this exercise.



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