A Sad Expression, Portrait Oil Painting

Around the time of this painting, I was thinking about how often I paint similar things. As you can tell from a quite browse of this site, I pretty consistently share head and shoulders portraits of people. Occasionally, I’ll branch out into a figure study, a pet, or even a rare landscape. But usually, I practice similar styles and types of artwork. I enjoy it of course, so it makes sense that I follow paths that are fun to me. And I like being able to see progress as I practice similar things – it certainly makes it easier to compare and to get those repetitions. But I do want to learn and try new things too, which is one of the reasons I tried painting in the first place after so many years of colored pencil sketching.

I’m trying to branch out with more figure studies, which I’ll continue since it pushes me out of my comfort zone. But I also realized a lot of my portraits are similar facial expressions – smiles or neutral expressions. And if I’m being honest with myself, I also think I gravitate towards closed-mouth expressions fairly often. The thought crossed my mind that maybe I need to try to render some different facial expressions, perhaps to practice conveying different emotions. I often ramble on about thoughts like these to my family – my kids suggested angry and sad faces. Since I’m not really sure painting angry things aligns well with my using painting to relax, I felt like trying a sad face might be a good one.

So, I gave this one a shot. As with most of my paintings, I have mixed feelings about this one. I really like this painting in a broad sense and as a portrait, in general, it’s one that I really like. This painting was done four months prior to the time of me writing this blog post, which in the context of learning and practice is a fairly long time. I think my painting has evolved a bit since then. But even with that in mind, this is definitely one I’m proud of and feel good about the details. All that being said, I’m not sure if I quite captured what I set out to do here. I wanted to depict a sad expression, and I did achieve somewhat of a subtle sadness. But I was actually trying to be more obvious. I think an uninitiated observer might be able to look at this and interpret a more neutral expression, which means I didn’t accomplish everything I’d hoped with this one.

I will say this though; if I can achieve this sort of result with every painting (something I genuinely like, but doesn’t quite achieve every goal)? I will definitely take that! To me, that would be an overall victory in terms of motivating me to continue with this hobby. I’ve also got a couple of YouTube videos embedded below. One is from my “Painting to Music” playlist, this one featuring the Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1, G Major Prelude. One thing I’ve learned from creating all of these classical music videos is that I apparently like Bach quite a lot. I think Bach and Haydn have become my two favorite classical composers. Anyhow, the second video below is a YouTube Short.

Blick Art Materials

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