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Final portrait painting session

We will finish off the course by painting a portrait from a resource image that you bring in. The idea is that we will be using the expressiveness of colour and composition more than a physical likeness to transmit information.

In these paintings by Egon Schiele and Ludwig Kirchner rely more on colour and composition than on an accurate "realistic" reproduction of the subjects.

To this end I thought it would be useful to see how Gestalt theory relates to this:

In particular to the idea that the brain makes assumptions about visual elements and recreates a new idea or image in our head. Our use of negative shape as painters can be described as one of these principles.

When choosing an image for your portrait think about what kind of atmosphere you want to convey and so what approach will be useful. Strong/weak contrasts, rhythmic lines, cool/warm palette etc. The idea isn't that you have it all figured out before painting but rather that you have a starting point for engaging with the resource material.

At the moment I'm torn between using a visually rich image such as this Cindy Sherman portrait.

or trying to build some kind of visual ideas around a well known personage.

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