Self Portrait Challenge- A Claassen Venture

You have all heard me talk about Coral numerous times (groupie alert!), but I've never talked about her partner in crime, Jeff. Well, Jeff posed a challenge this weekend- an art challenge, self portraiture to be exact. Portraiture is is my thing, but what is not my thing? Self portraiture- I just don't do it! But I decided late Saturday night that I wanted in on this and I was going to provide a further challenge to myself by doing it in a medium I have only used once as an adolescent. My talented husband has been taking some art classes and is really mastering some new techniques. He suggested I try charcoal- which shows he has more faith in me than I have in myself- it's a medium that takes me completely outside of my detail oriented box- I seriously had my doubts that I could accomplish anything with it. 

My husband encouraged me to start with an individual feature first- after I tried and failed at beginning my first piece. I started to build my confidence a bit while playing around with how it felt to use both charcoal and pastel. My husband explained to me that it is very much like painting vs. pencil drawing and that was the light bulb moment- as soon as I treated it like my oil paints I felt more comfortable. In the course of one afternoon I tried a new medium, did a much larger piece than I normally do and did two self portraits- this is all pretty major for me! I've got two men to thank for what I consider a successful day, my husband for his encouragement and super helpful suggestions and of course Jeff for setting forth the challenge to begin with- I may have picked up the pastels and charcoals without the Weekend Art Challenge but I never would have done a self portrait. 

Here's to the Weekend Art Challenge and new things!!

sketching and testing things out

the tools and yes, I have tracing paper like a little kid! you'd be amazed at how handy that stuff  is when laying out a sketch for an oil painting. I did not however use it for this project- it was just my handy dandy tray today.

Self Portrait: Look One
midway point and finished piece

Self Portrait number 1 in progress

Self Portrait 1 finished work.
Pastel and Charcoal on paper.  11 x14"

Self Portrait: Look Two 
progress and finished piece

Basic Sketch

About halfway through

Getting there- still quite a few tweaks to do.

Finished Piece. Self Portrait number Two
Pastel and Charcoal on paper.  18 x 24"

Jeff will be featuring the paintings/pieces of all of the artists participating in this Weekend Art Challenge on his Claassen Gallery Facebook Page. I highly suggest a visit to this page- one: because you really need to "like" his page if you haven't and two: there are some talented people out there! 
Check out the Weekend Art Challenge Photo Album HERE

Jeff's blog post about the Weekend Art Challenge HERE

Jeff has also created an Instagram hashtag for it as well, so if you are on Instagram search #weekendartchallenge

For an exclusive on the inspiration for the two self portraits please click HERE.


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