My paintings are mixed media. The media include oil, acrylic, pencil, paper collage, and stamping. This week, I set myself a new challenge… my first male face. My victim? My graduating senior son.
Here’s his senior picture pose that I started with:
When I begin a painting, I create a sketch in pencil to get the features marked in in correct proportion and placement. Then comes the fun part… I use Shiva oil paint sticks to lay down the base color. These colors are big fat sticks of soft color, and they are less precise than crayons. So I lay down the color and blend it with my fingers and with cotton swabs. It really is exciting to fingerpaint a face!! The oil color will dry in 24 hours, but I have discovered that on heavy drawing or watercolor paper, the paints can be dried by heat setting them with a stamper’s heat gun. Here’s the result at this stage:
Next, I refine the face with colored pencils. I recently treated myself to a new set, the 132 pencil set of Prismacolors. Talk about feeling like a kid at Christmas!! (And I did use a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby for it!)
My kids weren’t convinced that I could get the hair to look right after the first stage since the underlayer was so dark… never fear! I did. After getting all the detail and shading of the face I wanted, it was time to add some collage elements. I put a verse from Psalms near the top, a page from an old children’s book along the side, gave him a striped “shirt” and used the book plate from an old Iowa State Library book that I picked up in the free pile at the library. The book was about 50 years old!! But I liked it because the boy is planning to attend ISU…
Next is more finger painting with acrylic, fluid paints to color the background and to mute the collage elements.
Then I stamp various patterns loosely over the painting with texture plates and rubber stamps with more acrylic.
And finally, I get out my letter stamps and add the verse. Exodus 14:13 is the verse that my son picked for his confirmation verse 4 years ago. At that time, I put it on a silver keychain for him (it’s pretty beat up from 4 years of use since the fine silver is soft, but there’s a sterling frame around which takes most of the abuse). It’s so cool to use different media to commemorate different times in my kids lives, but the same faith underlies it all.
Here’s the final painting:
My son is graduating in 2 weeks. On his grad invitations, I used a quote from Harry Potter #6, “Time is making fools of us again.” He rolls his eyes at Mom’s sentimentality, but the quote really captures for me my amazement that this moment is already here. It can’t be that long ago that I nursed this child and stared into his eyes, wondering who he would become.