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

SF Botanical Garden

there is a free day at the SF Botanical Garden once a month, but I rather accidentally ended up there on the free day! I happened to have my painting kit with me and so I thought I would find plentiful subjects there. I wandered around the 55 acres for over an hour, ending up near the main gate where there were some magnificent crabapple trees blooming. I have never had a lot of luck or skill at painting flowering trees, but they were so beautiful I had to try again.

It was pretty late by the time I got back around to that location, and the sun was streaming over the lawn from a low point, making these great shadows that are really fun. It seems the trick is to simplify the trees, just making them into shapes.

face 51

I think this is as far as I will go with this one, as there is a flaw in the paper. Why is it so hard to photograph white paper? I could increase the contrast in a photo-editing program, but then all the grays would be lost, so that doesn’t seem like a good solution.

the eyes have it. Pencil portrait.
the eyes have it