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Painting Project: Opaque-Colors Portraits


Painting Project: Opaque-Colors Portraits

This painting project follows on from the January 2013 Opaque Colors Project. The challenge is to paint a portrait or self-portrait using opaque colors. Working wet-on-wet, mixing on the canvas, as well as using broken color are the keys to an interesting result, not to forget working with thin layers and scumbling as options.

Look at later works by Lucian Freud for inspiration (that's a self-portrait by him in the photo above). For an expressionist figure painting, look at the French artist Georges Rouault.

Paintings for this project can be in any style, in any opaque medium (e.g. oils, acrylic, gouache), and should ideally be painted from life not a photo as this hones your observation skills. There's no limit on many colors you may use, but they must be opaque, not transparent or semi-transparent. (Check the paint tube label and do a test.) Note that mixing titanium white or Chinese white or any other opaque color into a transparent color to 'make it opaque' is not really within the spirit of this project.

In addition to your finished portrait, create a color chart showing the colors used (with the names written alongside) painted over a strip of black paint or pen to demonstrate their opacity. This creates a record for you (I'd do it in a sketchbook over a thick line of black pen), and it's helpful for others looking at your painting.

While I do try to give some sort of feedback on every submission, I don't promise it as there are only so many hours in a week. Submissions that don't follow the project's instructions, use textspeak, all capitals, or are without basic punctuation (such as capitals at the start of sentences and on the word "I", spaces after commas and full stops) will be deleted without notification. My thanks to all those who do take the time to type carefully and share their thoughts with us fully. I know it can be hard writing about what you've painted, but remember that all we see are the photos, we need you to tell us the story of its creation.

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