A Blog About Oil Painting

A Self Portrait in Oil

/ / People Portrait Self portrait

Self portrait in oil with yellow background by artist Simon Bland

Self Portrait. 12x16, oil on linen. 2016-2017

I like to do a self portrait every year or so. It's a good exercise in observation, and the model is cheap.

Although I started this at the end of 2016, it took a long time to finish as I kept putting it back on the easel to noodle around with.

You might think that 'making it look like the subject' would be the hardest thing about painting a portrait, but for me all the difficulty lies in getting the skin tone right. It can be stupidly hard. I keep trying to mix a "flesh tone", but make a color that looks like an anemic orange.

It takes me some really close, hard analysis to get it right. When I have the correct tone it will often look like a gray on the palette and only become a flesh color when it's on the canvas.