Portrait of Lady in a Dark Room

This painting of a woman in a dark room is another portrait study in my efforts to practice specific areas that aren’t my strongest. There are a few aspects of portrait painting that come to mind, but one in particular goes back even to my colored pencil days. I’ve talking about this before in more depth, but for a long time I’ve relied on measurement for portrait proportions. I have a long term goal in mind to eventually try to paint from life, so as a step towards that, I want to get accustomed to painting freehand and trying to visualize spatial relationships better. I think if I can get more comfortable with that, I might find the leap to live painting sessions slightly less daunting.

There are other areas too though. I also still need practice when it comes to contrast, deep shadows/dark areas and color selection. I’ve gotten more repetitions on this lately, so perhaps this is a less urgent need now, but at the time of this painting in the early spring, I definitely needed more experience with it. I think this portrait of a lady in a dark room checks several of the boxes that I needed at the time, and really still need time and repetitions with. Certainly this is true when it comes to the freehand and dark color value questions. There are other things to work on as well that this doesn’t touch on, such as figure studies. But a project can’t be all things at once, particularly for someone like me who has so much yet to learn.

One aspect that makes me laugh about this particular painting is how it played on social media. I typically share all of these time lapses to both Instagram and YouTube, but I can never predict how they’re going to do. I literally have no clue what people like on each platform, and if I try to predict, I’m nearly always wrong. With this one, I thought it was exactly the type of thing that would play well on both platforms. I picked trending audio, had a solid painting, and structured everything how I thought would work out the best. Yet it pretty much failed on Instagram and YouTube! I have no idea why…but clearly I do not know what I’m doing. Every time I think I’m starting to get it, these platforms are glad to show me how wrong I am.

I did try something new with this one – I trimmed the length down to less than 20 seconds. I’ve now heard/read in a couple of places that there is some value to shortening these vertical videos down to very brief lengths. Social media algorithms are a complete mystery to me, so we’ll see what happens with that. According to some people, 6-7 seconds is the longest you should go without something happening (camera change, graphic, caption, etc). In my videos, really nothing happens aside from painting! So I figured maybe I needed to work on that. But who knows? It didn’t seem to change anything.

I’ve also got a couple of YouTube videos embedded below. One is from my “Painting to Music” playlist, this one featuring the 1st Movement of Bach’s Double Violin Concerto. The second is a YouTube Short.

Blick Art Materials


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