The portrait challenge paintings are finished! Some of the paintings I love and a couple I don’t like at all. One was a huge experiment with a new medium that became a bit of a nightmare. Overall, I think the challenge was a success and I learned a lot, which was the whole point for me.
The days will be out-of-order as I split the last twenty paintings into drawing/pastels (the last post) and painting (this post).
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Day 16 – Feelin’ Groovy
Day 16 was a lot of fun for me to do. I did this one alla prima style in ArtRage. Had I painted this with traditional oils or acrylics, I would have had to buy special colors to pull this off. Digitally, I don’t have to worry about the color. I also don’t have to worry about getting a good photo of my painting, which is always a challenge for me with traditional work.
All the digital painting were done on the iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil using the mobile version of ArtRage. You can paint with your finger if you’re using your phone or don’t have an Apple Pencil. ArtRage offers two desktop versions as well. ArtRage 5 is the full version. It has incredible features and a lot of flexibility. The “Lite” version is under $30 if you want to dip your toes in. Both are worth checking out if you are a traditional painter who wants to try out a natural digital painting program.
If you look at the bottom of the painting you can see where I was simply roughing color in on her shirt. As you go up to her shoulder and chest you’ll see how I was laying (virtual) paint down without much blending going on. I didn’t have much time to work on this, so I left a lot of it unfinished. I still think it works and I love how it turned out.
Day 18 – That Scarf Was Killing Me
Painting the portrait for day 18 was a blast. I wanted to do as little blending as possible to give a chunky paint feel and found this technique very satisfying. I also found I LOVE painting glasses on people and I have no idea why. It’s really fun though.
What wasn’t so much fun was that crazy scarf. I was going to eliminate it all together, but realized the quirkiness of the scarf added to the personality of the subject. Plus, she needed some color! SO, I ended up spending way too much time painting this puppy. It was worth it though. If you put your hand up to cover the scarf, you’ll see why it adds so much to the portrait.
Day 20 – The Great Alkyd Disaster
Part of what I wanted to do with this challenge was try new techniques and mediums. I had heard of Alkyds and know many artists love them. This was not my experience.
Alkyds are fast drying oils and have a matte finish. They were a little too fast drying as far as I’m concerned. As I was painting it seemed like the paint was getting gummy. I then had trouble with that gummy texture while I was painting. I ended up adding medium to help me out and then eventually gave up on the painting.
When I checked in on the painting after a day or two, I ended up liking it a little more. The only problem was that I couldn’t get a good picture of it. She looks too green and red in places in the photo above. It looks much better in person, so I’ll have to see if I can get a better shot.
The other interesting thing about this portrait is that I tend to not like painting people who look too perfect. A little character on a face is much more satisfying to paint as far as I’m concerned.
Day 21 – I Just Love Everything About This One!
Now here is an interesting face to paint! The contrast of light and dark was a huge help in making this painting work for me. If you look at the painting above, the light is even and flat across the face which decreases drama. In the image below, there’s a lot of lighting drama to work with.
I also took some liberties in adding complementary colors to her skin tones to add visual interest. The background color offsets her golden/gray hair in a subtle way as well. This is one of my overall favorites.
Day 24 – Speaking Of Favorites…
Day 24 was another one of my favorite paintings. The color palette is the reason why it landed near the top of the series for me.
There is fairly good contrast with the lighting plus the added challenge of painting a hand. The original inspiration image was in black and white, so I was able to make up my colors which I find very freeing and a lot of fun. I did this with a few other portraits in the previous posts for the #30faces30days challenge.
Day 27 – Ya, This One Was NOT A Favorite
Day 27 was just depressing to paint. I didn’t like the quality of the photo I was painting from. I didn’t like the colors in the photo. And most of all, I didn’t like the body language of the subject.
With the portrait challenge paintings on Sktchy, they send an inspiration image every morning to work from. I didn’t like all the images and this happened to be one of them. Perhaps I should have skipped it but sometimes you get surprised by a painting when you forge ahead. No surprises here!
Day 28 – The Dreaded Self-Portrait
I honestly think if I had known this challenge involved a self-portrait I wouldn’t have signed up. I find self-portraits uncomfortable to paint and I’m not alone in this. Many other artists feel the same way with a few exceptions, of course. Rembrandt created nearly one hundred self-portraits. Good for you Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn!
The main benefit of the self-portrait is having a free model. I’m sure there are psychological benefits as well, but I haven’t thought much about that part of the exercise. For my portrait I took a black and white photo so I could once again create my own palette to work from. I had a huge problem blending out my hair for some reason (just like in real life!!!) and ended up leaving that part undone. I also ran out of time.
Portrait Challenge Paintings Day 29 – Fast And Furious!
This painting had another dreaded scarf! I ended up not painting it as shown in the inspiration photo because I had no time for that. I also wanted to keep the color palette simple and the scarf colors would have added too much visual chaos.
Where the scarf lady from day 18 needed color to add a little life to the portrait, I thought the colors on the scarf for this painting would be too distracting for this subject. Her rich skin tones are gorgeous and I wanted those colors to be the central focus. Of course, I ran out of time too, so there’s that. 😉
Day 30 – Another Top Favorite Of The Portrait Challenge Paintings
Wow – I was so glad to get to the last day of this challenge. It felt like I had been running an art marathon for a month. If making art was the only thing I did then I think it would have been perfect to overlay into my daily routine. However, since I work full-time I found this challenge a little too challenging. If I decide to do it again, I would spread it out over three or four months.
The painting of Scot above wasn’t one of the inspiration images that I got from Sktchy. There was one image they had sent through that I didn’t want to paint at all, so this painting took its place for the portrait challenge paintings.
Scot was someone I worked with. He had grown and epic beard and I thought it would be fun to paint so he was kind enough to pose for a few photos. I really liked how this one turned out and it became my most liked post on Instagram!
Scot’s image is now inspiring other artists on Sktchy. I’ve seen many versions of Scot and his beard come through my feed on the app. It’s pretty cool.
Portrait Challenge Paintings Day 5 – Ooops, I Almost Forgot
I’m just going to put it out there, day 5 is not my favorite of the portrait challenge paintings. It should have been included in my first post about the #30faces30days challenge, but I forgot to add it.
One of the things I wanted to do was try new styles and techniques through this challenge. I ended up painting this with more of an “80’s pop” vibe which just isn’t me. It’s OK, but I don’t love it. But hey, that’s what art is all about – trying things and discovering what you like, don’t like and learning a lot in the process.
On To The Next Challenge
Now that this is finally over, I’m going to take a break and figure out what I want to do next. I think I’ll do some still life practice on canvas. Since the #30faces30days challenge was so fast and furious, I ended up doing a lot of the paintings in ArtRage on my iPad Pro because it is portable.
I think many of the portraits would have been much easier to paint taking a brush to canvas but it simply wasn’t as convenient. I miss the paint and canvas, so I want to get back to the easel. My next post, however, will be a step-by-step of how I do the portraits on the iPad, so be looking for that soon!