For this project, the students were required to make a portrait that addresses one or more of the three guiding questions; how can a portrait make a broader social statement, how can we represent the intangible in portraits, and how can portraits convey authority? For my portrait, I used acrylic as my media.
The title of my artwork expresses my intention. Everyone sees the world differently, but most people wish the world is full of serenity, sunshine, happiness, and purity. It is like a smile on a child’s face, true, sincere, and innocent.
I chose my brother as my subject because I want to show the purity and the happiness of children. The first guiding question, how can we represent the intangible in a portrait, is expressed through all the symbols of my artwork. My brother is smiling happily because he has nothing to worry about. The color of my portrait is mainly blue and white which shows that the world in children’s eyes is innocent. My brother was painted in a comic way rather than a realistic version because that represent children’s imagination and how they see things. The mountain and the white sweater are symbols of clean and honesty of a child. The texture of the painting is rough except my brother and the sky.
The other guiding questions in my portrait is how can a portrait make a broader social statement. Despite that, some children, like my brother, who is smiling blissfully and grow up in a safe environment, but lots of children are suffering every day. In order to emphasize the guiding question more, I made my brother as the focal point by the size of the figure, located in the middle of the canvas, and he has most of the bright color compare to the background. There are children who grow up watching wars and deaths, children who suffer from hunger, and the orphans that never know who is their parent. The message of my work is I hope that my brother and every child in the world will grow up happy and healthy.
My portrait is inspired by two artists, Valdivaldi, a street artist, and Chris Buzelli, a fantasy artist. From the artist, Valdivaldi’s artwork, I borrowed the technique of doing a portrait in a monochromatic way. I painted the whole mountains and the cloud using one color, cobalt blue. From the artist, Chris Buzelli, I borrowed the way how he created his subject in a comic way. I tried to imitate his technique on my brother, but it didn’t work so well
My actual studio piece ended up looking almost the same then what I have envisioned. On my final plan, I wished to make all the texture bumpy and rough except my brother, the only smooth part of my painting. I did the media testing with the modeling paste and the palette knife, it looks good to the background, but it won’t work if there is a person in the middle of the canvas. The challenges that came up during the painting is the facial proportion of my brother. When I did the first layer of my brother’s face, the two eyes were extremely asymmetrical. One eye was big, the other one was small. One eye was higher and the other one was lower. His mouth was too wide and his eyebrows were very asymmetrical as well. I painted the face with the skin color and retrace the eyes and the mouth to make them proportional. The rest parts of the painting worked fine.
I challenge myself with new techniques and ideas. Although I did some acrylic painting before, they are all landscapes or animals, none of them involved human, not to mention a portrait. This is my first time to do a portrait on such a large canvas with acrylic. I’m not fully satisfied with the way how it looks. I feel like the overall effect of the painting should go better.
I do take advantage of the class time and finished the painting on time. I apply myself to do the best of the work. I compared the portrait painting with the painting that I did before and realized that the workmanship improved a lot. Looking at my artwork, I feel I have grown. The mixing and the blending of the color for the acrylic paint have grown compared to the media testing. The face of my brother is blended through acrylic and I feel that’s smooth.
For the media testing of this project, I learned how to use modeling paste. Although I didn’t use it for my final canvas, I got the general technique of using it. Another technique that I learned is to use the palette knife to paint the mountains. I used the technique in my media testing but only use a little in the actual painting.
Stretch and Explore:
I originally wanted to paint the face with a technique called impasto paint, and I have the pictures ready to imitate. However, after I did the first layer of the face, I realized that maybe acrylic could blend like oil paint. For the second layer, I blended it and found that acrylic can blend so well too.
For this project, I challenged myself to give a meaning for all the objects in my painting. I thought before doing the final, why I used the mountain as the background, and why my brother wore the white sweater, not a T-shirt? I photoshopped my picture before starting the actual drawing. For the last project, I feel that I think more like an artist and avoid the things that are too literal.