I asked Evelyn if she would mind us putting her portrait on our college news blog and she was delighted. Evelyn has written about her self portrait below. Evelyn’s painting is absolutely superb, I hope that our students reading this are inspired!
I have just completed the Drawing and Painting Diploma Course. The final assignment of this course was to paint a portrait in any medium. I decided to paint a self-portrait. I took several photos, chose one that I felt had the right expression and painted from that, making some modifications along the way.
As I am half Taiwanese, I have always been fascinated by Taiwan’s indigenous culture. I was inspired to try to give my portrait this ‘feel’ and so I painted the clothes, colors, hairstyle, and background accordingly.
The painting process was an extended one. I used three mediums in the painting: pencil, acrylics, and oils. I first made a drawing on the canvas using HB pencils, which enabled me to fix errors and make sure I had all the proportions right. I then sprayed the drawing with fixative— this was a big help as it prevented pencil smudges from mixing with the paints.
Next I painted a tonal under-painting in burnt umber and white, using acrylic paints. This took more time than I’d expected but proved to be very beneficial as it enabled me to concentrate on capturing the graduations of light and shadow without having to simultaneously think about the colors.
I then painted the colors over the under-painting using oil paints. I struggled with the color scheme, especially in the skin tones. There are just so many subtle variations of color in human skin and I had to learn to work patiently. I also found it challenging to paint the background colors so that they wouldn’t be too vibrant and steal attention away from the face.
For me, this portrait was the most difficult assignment of the entire course, but eventually it came together nicely. Looking at a finished painting is such a rewarding feeling and makes you almost forget the frustrations and challenges along the way. I learned so much through taking this course and feel it was a very worthwhile investment and learning experience for me.
Evelyn (Drawing and Painting Diploma D1)