Self Portrait of an Artist – How To Paint A Portrait by Matt Abraxas

In the final video for creating my yearly self portrait, I bring you along on a time-lapse demo to show you how to paint a portrait.

I paint my self portraits each year around my birthday which is on March 25th.  This year, it turned out that Jerry’s Artarama, the ubiquitous art supply company, was hosting a self portrait contest with a deadline of April 6th.  Perfect.

I used this as an opportunity to hopefully inspire others to create a self portrait and maybe even complete it in time for the contest.

In the video above, I have the portrait mostly finished.  I knew that in order to get the video edited and this blog written in time, I would have to completely finish the portrait a little later.  As of finishing this blog, the portrait is finished, but it won’t be in Jerry’s contest.  I actually completed the portrait on April 6th and tried to submit it at the last minute, but because of time zone differences that I didn’t count on, I missed the deadline.

No matter though.  This isn’t my reason for creating my self portrait.  I do hope these videos have helped some of you, and I would love to hear from you if it did.

Matt Abraxas Self Portrait at 40 Years 2014 Oil Painting

“Self Portrait at 40 Years” Oil on Linen, 34×34 inches

The completion of my 2014 Self Portrait, “Portrait of a Self Portrait”  Oil on Linen, 35×35 inches.

In completing the portrait, I had to sit with it a couple days while reviewing what was working and what wasn’t.  By the end of the video above, I was happy with the portrait of the face, but much of the painting was still not working.

If you’ve followed along this process of mine, you’ve seen the several studies I made to build upon and iron out potential problems.  I realized that at a certain point, I abandoned the studies and started shooting from the hip.  This goes one of two ways, and at first, it went south for me.  I neglected to anchor in the figure.  I experimented with the dry-brush and scraping techniques, and the scuffled style, but also sort of rushed through areas that caused a weakened composition.

In the final portrait (in the picture above), I darkened the lower portions of the painting and added more dimension to the portrait within the portrait, along with an actual portrait.

I had intended a stronger, wider contrast between the two portraits, but in my initial experiments, it was not working.  I will try this experiment again when I don’t have a deadline (the deadline of completing this by April 6th for others who are watching).

I like the idea of two styles within one painting, especially if each style portrays the same subject.  If anyone knows of examples of this, please share it with me.

You can add your comment below here, or share your thoughts and examples of your work on my Facebook page here: Matt’s Facebook Art Page