DAPWYL 2 finished in the blink of an eye! I am woefully behind, but I’m ok with that. It’s not like once a course is over that’s it. There were so many rich and fascinating lessons it would take more than five weeks to absorb and integrate them anyway.

self portrait 1

One thing I wanted to get a better handle on is working with lights and darks, and loosening my mark making. Pauline had us all playing with apps to manipulate images so that they were easier to paint from.

self portrait 2

I found this self portrait I took ages ago on the beach and figured it was simple enough and with interesting colours. With a bit of fiddling about in various apps I reduced it down to more obvious blocks of colour so it’d be easier to work with.

self portrait 4

I layered it up from light dark, learning as I went how the darks and lights fitted together without making it too neat, which is kind of my nemesis. It’s weird when the art you want to make and the art that comes out don’t have anything in common. I’m finding I have to be very conscious of what I’m doing, while simultaneously letting it be loose and intuitive to a degree.

self portrait 4

It requires painting over and over each area, adjusting edges and pushing some shapes and colours back while bringing others forward. In focusing on the shapes I was seeing rather than trying to get a likeness, I unexpectedly ended up with a pretty accurate rendition! Close up it looks kind of a mess, but I like that; and then when you step back it suddenly merges together and works as a whole.

Self Portrait by Tara Leaver

I’m really pleased about how it’s turned out; it is much more in alignment with the kind of paintings I want to be making; looser, expressive, less tight and controlled, and with plenty of colour, and now I have a better felt sense of how to create that. I even framed it {very crappily} so I can see and be encouraged by it every day.

framed self portrait