This year, Katy and I decided to enter the New American Paintings competition for the Southern US region. Katy had about 8 great paintings to chose from, but they only require 4. She submitted hers earlier this week.

I had plenty of paintings that I could’ve submitted but after much discussion about it, I decided that I would submit self portraits only. I have 6 self portraits from this year, but only 3 of them kinda “worked” as a group. That meant I had to paint another portrait before the December 31st Midnight deadline. No worries. There’s plenty of free time between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, right?


So I started with a remnant of canvas that I thought I was only going to use a part of. It’s about 24” wide and 60” tall. I primed the raw canvas with a wash of orange. While it dried, I took a few photos using the iPad and then I sketched it on the canvas.


I used some flesh toned paint to layout out the face thinking about how it might look with orange as the base color.


I added some burnt umber.


I used the iPad to zoom in on the features as I painted. It’s a great tool. As I started to paint in the black of the shirt I decided that I should paint the black all the way down to the bottom of the canvas making it a tall and thin portrait. Not a typical rectangle.


I’ve added green to some places where my skin looked green. I’ll paint some layers over it so it sinks a bit.


Several hours of layering the fleshy tones on top of the greens I start painting in the beard and hair.


Several more hours and several more layers of paint later, the portrait is beginning to look sharp.


The painting is done before 5 PM and uploaded to the website. Wish us luck!