Character Portraits, Real and Imagined

"Mia", 12 inches by 16 inches, oils on canvas.

“Mia”, 12 inches by 16 inches, oils on canvas.

I have recently begun attending a figure painting session with fellow bay area artists. It’s been a great weekly routine in which about four to six painters and a model crowd together for warmth in a cozy garage studio in the Oakland Hills and together struggle to depict the human form for four hours. Beer and bad art puns are shared amongst all. I’ve been to a lot of different drawing and painting groups over the years, and I have to say this one is my favorite so far. Sometimes I pull off a great portrait, and sometimes I just learn from mistakes (usually the latter).
"Mickey," 12 inches by 16 inches, oils on canvas

“Mickey,” 12 inches by 16 inches, oils on canvas

Sometimes in my initial lay in I go for something more than a simple portrait. The above painting of the model Mickey was one of these. I struggled with her posture and proportions pretty much the whole time, but at the end I was reasonably sure I captured her silhouette somewhat accurately. It’s not a knock-out painting by any means, but I learned a lot, which is what it’s all about.
In progress character portrait

In progress character portrait

This practice is in turn translating into what I am doing at the studio. I’ve recently started up a series of small character portraits that are inspired by a Dungeons and Dragons campaign that I’m running. I’m not sure what this series will turn in to, but I’m having a lot of fun translating what I’m learning into narrative works. Stay tuned for more coming soon!

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