A Different Self-Portrait

first layer of portrait on canvas. Thinned out oil paints with darker colors

Layer 1

This week I pulled out some paintings from last semester that I planned to rework and I really wanted to talk about the self-portrait I did in my painting class. It’s very different from other self -portraits I’ve done in the past. When I was tasked with creating a self-portrait in high school, my first thought was to create something as realistic as I could. Looking at them now, I think they’re boring; they don’t have any type of personality. So for this portrait I decided to go in with a different mindset. I set up a mirror and mixed up some colors. I started with some blues and purples but then mixed in orange and pink. The colors were real murky in my initial phases, but I kept going to see what would happen.

Layer 2 of same portrait. More vibrant colors added. Starting to look like subject.

Layer 2

In the next layer, I began adding more vibrant colors on top of my base layer. Here, I started to find the colors I was looking for. I did not want realistic colors, but rather more expressive, fun colors. Instead of rendering realistic details, I focused on making shapes. I looked for other ways to make the portrait look like me without creating detail.

I continued adding more layers and different colors. I added a really nice deep blue that I liked and eventually I put in a bright real color as well. In this layer, the portrait really started to come together. It felt like me even without all the details I was used to.


After that, I put in some final touches before I felt happy with it. Looking at it now, I want to put in some more different blues and see what happens. But overall, I am very happy with the way it came out. It doesn’t feel as rigid as other portraits I’ve created. It feels fun and it was fun to make!

Until next week!


Final portrait with bright fun expressive colors

Finished Painting


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.