Greetings from lockdown! For better or for worse, I suddenly have tons of time on my hands whereas the past six months or so have practically flown by.
Unlike many creative industry professionals, especially those reliant on freelance work to survive, I am able to sit back and wait for better times in relative comfort. If you happen to be as lucky as I am, please go and check out the Artist Support Pledge on Instagram. The scheme is simple: artists offer their works to be sold for 200 pounds or less and commit to purchasing work from another artist once they’ve reached 1000 pounds in sales, hopefully keeping themselves and their fellow makers afloat through these uncertain times. From a buyer’s perspective, the pledge is more than an act of charity: these artworks range from unique pieces to artist’s proofs, limited edition prints and sketches that might not otherwise be on the market. Opportunities to browse such a large collection of artworks is rare and this might just be your change to become an art collector from the comfort of your own home.
So go on, treat yourself to a browse on #artistsupportpledge
But back to the blog: I have been practising portrait painting. No sitter would voluntarily enter my home studio/man-cave so I picked out my favourite family photos and started sketching. These are all small oil paintings on canvas panels and I am hoping to finish quite a few before I’ll be back to my 9 to 5. The one I would like to share with you is my dad Juha, circa 1986 and the first of these dinky portraits I have finished since I was furloughed.
The reason I chose to go with canvas panels rather than stretched canvas was simple: they are affordable, easy to store, ship and frame and altogether more straightforward to work with when you are chronically short of space. Now, I wouldn’t use these for anything bigger than an A4 as they have a tendency to warp, but the ones I am currently using are no bigger than 8×10 inches. They arrived pre-primed, but I chose to add an additional layer of gesso anyway. More the merrier, I say and I like to cover all pencil marks under a thin layer of primer to stop the graphite from mixing with the paint I use. This will also help with the coverage, if like me, you prefer a strong pencil sketch to guide your brush.
All and all, I was really happy how this monochrome little portrait turned out. Obviously, my dad was chuffed to bits too. That’s really all I want to achieve with these pieces, besides from keeping myself busy for the next few weeks to come. If you got any juicy lockdown tips, work from home stories etc. let me know in the comments. I’m not saying that I am slowly being driven round the bend by the sound of my husband breathing and whatnot, but y’know.
Otherwise, keep calm and paint on.