Chris Moock Self Portrait

Portrait over a mirror

The first project of the summer term was a self portrait with Chris Moock .  In a fit of enthusiasm at the beginning of the term I was interested to see what I could do that was not the standard ‘looking into a mirror’ image.  I had also taken a large 40 X 40 inch canvas to add to the challenge.  Chris had us work with a very traditional limited palette of Indian Red, Yellow Ochre, Prussian Blue and Raw Umber.  He also required us to work primarily with only two colours in any mix and had a strict embargo on unnecessary use of white.  In broad his approach is to use almost no white, working with a low key palette and using white in colour mixes just for the highlights, ie as a colour in its own right rather than a lightener.  Interestingly some people got some bright colours and strong contrasts, even though the base paints were relatively dull.  Those typical white mixed pastel looking colours all but disappeared.  Finally its worth noting that Indian Red and Prussian Blue mix an attractive and strong black

I came to the class having pre worked out a composition that I thought would be interesting, placing a mirror on the floor and looking up my body while sitting on a stool and painting.  With only 4 days to do this project  I was really pushed by the size of the canvas I had brought and the difficult nature of the position that I had to hold.  I still really like the composition and quite like the resulting picture.  But I am going to do this picture again to see what more I can make of it.  I want to 1)  bring more colours and colour complements into each of the major areas, 2) increase the strength and tonal range of the arms, in particular the resting arm so that it has more presence in the composition and work and the background.  3) Loosen up the brush work and do more ‘drawing with paint’.