Sunday, July 7, 2019

Practicing What I Preach: Oil Painted Portraits

I think it is important to practice what you preach, so I try really hard to make time to make my own artwork. That has looked different in the past year with the addition of my 3rd baby but I feel so much better and more like myself if I do something creative, even if it's only 10 minutes at a time, and I think it is good for students to see me working on my own art. During the spring semester I managed to make 2 11x14 oil paintings of my oldest and youngest sons. I finally found got the right reference photo for my middle son so hopefully I will get that painted by the end of the year. 
Both paintings were made in my classroom. I started the first painting you see here because a student wanted to oil paint a portrait so I decided that would be a great time to start one of my own to demonstrate. I worked on it sitting next to that student and a few minutes here and there when all the other students were working independently. I just found a strategic location where I could see everyone and it worked out great! I also spent a couple of lunch sessions painting after I finished eating and stayed after school to work on it while my older boys played on the play
I like taking progress photos while I work. It helps me to reflect on my process.
I took the painting to Highland Art Day where I added it to the teacher display. While walking around checking out all the artwork I overheard another art teacher making disparaging comments about teachers who have time to make their own artwork. How they (we) must not have big classes and can't possibly have children of our own... I was nearby wearing my youngest in a moby wrap at the time! I was pretty frustrated at the time at the rude comments and chose to go get a snack instead of confronting the other teacher. I may not have classes as large as some art teachers but I work just as hard and trust me, small schools have their own issues. No situation is perfect but I wish we could build each other up instead of putting down others who we perceive to have it easier. 
The two paintings side by side
The next painting showed more of the figure. It fits the personality of my oldest who loves to build and explore, and is not super comfortable smiling at a camera!
This painting was more of a challenge for me. I wanted to use the same style as the first portrait but I had so much more information in my reference photo. I eventually accepted that they were going to have different styles but as long as each represents the subject well, I'm ok with that.
More progress photos
Finished painting
How do you make time for your art? Do you ever work alongside your students?

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