Portrait Painting: A time to slow down

The genre of portraiture is as timeless as painting itself. The portrayal of the human face creates a deep psychological connection between the artist, the painting and the viewer. Shaye Garrigan shares her experience exploring portraiture during our Portrait Painting Workshop.

by Shaye Garrigan

When painting the portrait one is required to slow down. Of course, you’ll look at the image as a  whole, but now you must see how the light falls. You’ll find the darkest shadows of the face  and follow with your eye the gradient of color to a highlight. You’ll do this again, and again.  Leaving no land unexplored. The face is no longer a face, but now a compilation of abstract  shapes. Rendering it much easier to approach. It is not your loved one, your idol, or your memories. It is simply a variety of shadows without ego. 

The further that you allow yourself to get lost in the nuances of dark to light, the more realistic  the whole image becomes. Blooming onto the page is not what you think of your model but  who they truly are. 

Often, instead of looking at something with honest eyes, we paint what we believe we know  about the subject. In a small funny way, this process of painting takes courage, trust, and to  relinquish control. Without slowing down one can not see the forest for the trees.

If your interested in exploring and learning portrait painting take a look at our Portrait Painting Workshop and see the next available date. You will engage in two distinctive approaches to portrait painting: a more expressive self portrait and a carefully planned realistic portrait. The self portrait technique is a more modern approach, drawing inspiration from painters such as Maria Lassnig and Vincent van Gogh. The layered painting will emerge through a series of glazes, relying on a technique mastered by artists such as Caravaggio and Rembrandt. 

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