Category Archives: Project 2: Looking at the face

Exercise 4: Conveying Character

For this piece I chose to convey a image of happiness and warmth.  Simply putting a simile onto a subjects face was not enough for me to achieve what I wanted to convey. I built up the painting with warm colours such as oranges, reds and yellows, allowing the paint itself to be advantage.

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I kept the palette quite restricted and warm in tone.

DSC_0166 A2 Acrylic on paper.

I used yellows and reds to change the tones in the face and express emotion too.

I am happy that I am experimenting and feeling my work to a greater experiment. I am really enjoying growing through this process. Also researching other portraits I enjoyed the use of quite earthy tones in the background. This helped me to achieve the character that I was trying to achieve through this piece.

Expressing the emotion of the subject through paint is something that I want to convey through my personal work to a higher level. This has given me the opportunity to research and explore ways of doing this especially through colour.

Some other drawings that I have been attempting to convey character and considered using for this piece:




Exercise 3: Creating mood and atmosphere

I intended to express sadness and loss. Although my initial sketches were quite realistic, the more I explored what I wanted to achieve, the more I experimented with colour and subtle changes. I was less worried about detail and more about the emotional expression of what I was doing. This resulting in quite a monochrome piece using the full scale of black to white. I have been appreciating splashes of colour in order to convey emotion, therefore I chose to include strong red and blue within the piece.  The red I was less sure of but I felt it brought a sense of anger and fear to it too, therefore included it.

part 3 proj 2 ex 3 002 part 3 proj 2 ex 3 001

Closed eyes were more expressive of what I wanted to achieve.


I felt a real need to emphasise a sense of burden, expressed by a weight in to the hand. I allowed the blue to flow through the darkness of the paint.

I was inspired by the positioning of a previous sketch that I had worked on of a homeless man. Everything that he expressed I wanted to try and convey through this piece too.


Exercise 2: Head and shoulder portrait.

I often enjoy watching my children sleep, they look so peaceful. Quite spontaneously I began to sketch my little boy in our rocking chair and felt that it would suit the criteria for this piece. After I finished I asked him and he say “that’s me!” He was really positive about it.

After preparing the surface, I sketched out the basics and worked from the background forward.

I have been finding that many of the pieces of art that I enjoy layers the paint, working the changes layer by layer. This is something that I am exploring a lot as I progress.

I favoured the positioning of the figure, including him being off centre creating a relaxed emotional expression.

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I changed the positioning and the focus from my original sketch in order to convey what I was trying to achieve.


  • I used a variety of blues for this piece as I feel that it expressed the calm peaceful emotions of what I was experiencing.
  • Background texture is something that I am experimenting with greatly at the moment. I really like the results of using brushes with regards to working on the human figure, however I am trying to find something personally fitting to my needs when it comes to the surrounding areas.
  • I didn’t want to use any tones that were too overpowering and feel that the range that I used suited what I wanted to achieve.

Exercise 1: Self portrait

This was a really interesting experience. Spending time really looking and analysing myself was quite hard. Noticing every little detail of my face and having to pay attention to it as well as then having to translate it through paint. I found myself quite critical more so in comparison to painting others portraits. I have to say that there was a likeness, however, I wasn’t happy with the mouths positioning. I am contemplating taking this further for my assignment piece as although it was difficult, I also found it enjoyable exploring myself in such a way.

The hardest part of my face to tackle was the effects of my piercings on the muscles of my face. My top lip piercing scar has made my face un symmetrical which was frustrating. Also my glasses, at first I was hard on myself to achieve their shape then I lost the worry and continued to enjoy the process.

The likeness was achieved through my preliminary drawings to a greater extent in comparison to the final piece. However, like my other pieces, I appreciate the freedom that painting achieves for me.

I am also enjoying exploring brush marks in order to achieve obvious changes to tone. Allowing less of a focus on natural changes, and instead making obvious brush marks with more of an emotional expression through my painting (instead of simply painting a realistic picture).

I asked the opinion of others and they were positive regarding the painting to myself.

part 3 proj 2 ex 1 001

part 3 skin tones 001 Experimenting with skin tone and possible colours that work with them.


Using the blue in the background from personal research, I feel really complements this skin tone. It adds a light and happy feeling to the piece. It also complements the many different paints that I use.

After further sketches I feel that I prefer the shapes created from a closed mouth and some other minor alterations to positioning. These I plan to take further for my assignment piece.