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Another Half

Updated: May 9, 2021

02.08.2019: My last painting 'Half a Man', a portrait of the musician Jesse Daniel Smith, has some new approaches that I want to work on further, but overall it doesn't convince me with some distance. I have therefore decided to paint 'the second half of the man' as well and I hope it will be a better half. In my second attempt I would like to try to break through contours more. Let's see if I succeed.

I kept the format: 50/50 cm. I also used raw linen again for the base, which I primed white. Today I only managed one single work step. I applied the figure in light pink-orange and the background in a cold grey with a broad brush. In contrast to the first version, this time I applied the paint almost undiluted and in one thick layer. Again, I added a good amount of wood ash to the paint to give it a grainy surface texture.

09.08.2019: On Wednesday, I was at the Kunsthaus for an exhibition of portraits by Guillaume Bruère. I was very impressed by his paintings, especially a huge self-portrait. Since then I have read several articles about him and if you analyse his stroke, it is not surprising when he says of himself that he works very quickly and is extremely productive with more than twenty thousand works. I think I have again taken some impulses from this exhibition and hope that they will also leave their mark on my work. On the other hand, this morning I also feel a certain blockade to get back to work myself, because I realise how far my work still is from this level.

Finally, however, I overcome myself and, with the support of good sound, I first put a layer of watery beige on the cold grey background. I still want to change the overall mood of the painting from cold tones to warm ones. Then I draw the contours in a dark red (should I really do that now? - I actually intend to break through the contours).

Then I apply two more layers with a broad brush and a more liquid colour: in a very light orange for the background and in a slightly darker red-orange for the figure. Tomorrow it's time for the finishing touches, where I'll actually just refine the facial features and add an accent to the glasses. I actually want to stage them as an eye-catcher.

10.08.2019: Today I set to work early because I couldn't sleep anymore this morning due to the torrential rain. With a narrower brush, I now work on the facial details and finally on the real eye-catcher of the painting: the glossy highlight on the right lens. To make it stand out from the rest of the painting with its warm red tones, I paint it as the only element in a cold shade of purple.

I intended to use oil pastels for the first time in this painting. At the very end I try this by adding some accents in red, brown, ochre and white. But the result is disappointing. On the rough undercoats, the stroke of the oil pastel does not come into play at all.

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