Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

This week's project is brought to you by insomnia. I am returning to my elementary art classroom this week and I have had a difficult time falling asleep with all the to-do lists running around in my head. And let's not forget the back-to-school nightmares. I had them as a student and I'm having them as a teacher. Yikes. This project happened late late at night when I wished I was sleeping!

After I finished I realized my current mood was conveyed in the finished portrait. It made me chuckle because I wasn't planning on creating art reflecting how I was feeling tired and overwhelmed at that moment but when you let go and try not to be too controlling your subconsciousness communicates!

Here are the supplies I used for this project: 

Let me start off by saying that sometimes it's good to just create a bunch of backgrounds on various substrates. That way, when it's super late and you wish you were sleeping but your brain won't let you,  you can just grab the nearest prepared background and begin.

The background I chose was prepared with a layer of modeling paste that I randomly scraped onto the surface with a palette knife and tinted with acrylics. I used the Celestial stencil with the palette knife to create raised stenciling into the modeling paste for even more texture. 

I used a pencil to sketch out the face and then took Night acrylic paint applied with the media tool to establish the shadows on the face. I mainly used the media tools to scrape and rub the paint onto the surface to build up layers. After my shadows were established I used white to create the highlights and Sky, Lime and Lemon for the skin tones. When needed I used a small paintbrush for details.

For the negative space around the face I painted warm colors with Ruby, Lemon and Tangerine. On top of that I used the Miro stencil with white and Ocean paint to give the background a texture (apparently communicating the fact that my brain is overflowing with to-do lists).

As a finishing touch and when the paint was mostly dry (which doesn't take long here in the desert) I lightly sanded the surface to highlight the stencil design created with the modeling paste. I like the weathered effect it gives.

I hope you take some time this week to create a portrait. Remember to let go and allow your subconscious to do the talking!