New Self-Portrait, process

Awhile back I posted a self-portrait sketch on the Smells Like Crayon blog. I wanted to have the painting done to introduce myself to the refreshed Picture Book Junkies blog. I revised the sketch, removing my glasses (I AM wearing contacts again, yippee!), tweaking Miles a bit, and removing the shaped background to make it more versatile.


As always, I went back and did a few color studies in Photoshop. Typically, the first color study is the one that I stick to - but I still need to get the other iterations out - and get a little feedback. My husband is always really helpful here.


Then on to painting. I wanted to play around with the background a bit, adding other colors but I rendered our faces so softly I thought it would be distracting. I feel like it sort of doesn't look like my style. Something about the proportion in my face and the eyes. Maybe I've just changed and taken such a long break from painting people. I did miss painting so. I've been doing book design gruntwork for months now, and it's thrown all my other goals off schedule. I think as long as I don't FORGET my goals, it's all good.


My friend Ann Marie pointed out that it has a 'Madonna & Child' vibe - partly it's the nature of the pose, and partly it's that little baby finger. Funny, because that was Miles' signature pose for a very long time, still now on occasion. We call it the 'choosing finger'. I did suffer/enjoy 13 years of Catholic education so perhaps there is something more to it. LOL!

On a personal note (If you've read this far...) this self-portrait replaces the one I painted during my first gouache class where I'm holding my little terrier Otto on my lap. I never explained the story and sadness about Otto here and I don't think I will. It's a bit too personal. I will say that I will forever be grateful for the people in this world who care for trouble and misunderstood dogs. If we ever were to adopt a dog again (very unlikely), it would only be from a shelter. There are too many good dogs who deserve a home.