Art Escape Italy challenge

Art Escape Italy recently presented a self-portrait-during-the-lockdown challenge. If you won, you would get a free workshop in Italy in 2021. What’s not to like about that?! I had been to one of their plein air workshops in 2016, so I knew they chose quality instructors and great venues. This was a “stretch goal” for me, to accept the Art Escape Italy challenge, but I figured it was worth it, since the worst that could happen was nothing and the best that could happen was to win a workshop!

It was fun to try, and my first selfie in oils. Although it makes a lot of sense to paint yourself, it doesn’t always feel comfortable as it feels narcissistic or something, so I haven’t done it much. If you don’t want to bother people to sit for even a photograph, much less an actual painting, you yourself are always there…  

They had about 150 entries. I did not win, but was close! The winner was a stand-out and I admire that portrait. Here’s Art Escape Italy’s blog post.

Micaela Marsden self-portrait
selfie 2020
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a graphite portrait

When was the last time I picked up a pencil to draw with??—it might have been about 4 years ago. I’ve been wanting to return to working on the faces project and drawing with graphite just feels fun. My original goal was 500 faces, just because it sounded neat, but is that even possible at this slow pace? Doubtful. This felt difficult, I was not happy with the blending of tones — maybe it was the paper or the pencils, or just how much time had passed. Here is a portrait of a woman I admire.

portrait in pencil

A portrait of a friend’s grandbaby, anonymized to protect the innocent! I still love graphite as a main medium. It’s so malleable that shading is pure fun. Of course, it comes along with it’s smudging capabilities which end up in unwanted places — nothing a coat of paint can’t fix! This will go into the upcoming Pro Arts East Bay Open Studio, June 6&7, and 13&14. http://www.proartsgallery.org/ebos/

The T has a blank in the middle — what should it say?

Baby Armadillo drawing
Baby Armadillo

workshop with Randall Sexton

faces 50, 51, 52

Weekend Warriors – 2-day portrait workshop. Randy is a great teacher – relaxed but informative and supportive. I find his work inspiring, wonderful images capturing a feeling of a place without being slavishly detailed, and lots of luscious brushwork.

These are two sketches and a full-day portrait which I did over this intensive weekend. I scrubbed one. It’s good to throw paintings over sometimes, it makes it easier to abandon those which aren’t going in the intended direction. Don’t hang on – move forward!!

a half day portrait
a half day portrait

30-minute morning sketch
30-minute morning sketch

Great model all suited up with a pristine suit of the 1920's!
Great model all suited up with a pristine suit of the 1920’s!

detail
detail