About Me

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Denman Island, British Columbia, Canada
Jean Cockburn retired from her professional career as an academic librarian in 2008 to become a textile artist living on Denman Island, British Columbia. She draws, quilts, embroiders, knits and crochets, makes wearable art, weaves baskets, dyes fabric, and paints watercolours. Her work has been exhibited locally in juried and group shows on Denman Island, in Courtenay, Comox, and Duncan on Vancouver Island, in West Vancouver, and across Canada with the Surface Design Association.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Painting self-portraits

My North Island College painting class mid-term independent painting is due February 8.

The size requirement is minimum 24' by 36". I don't want to make a single painting that size as it is too big to handle easily. I have six 12" square canvases from Michael's, and I am going to use those,

I am painting a series of self-portraits from photos that I took of myself. I took all the photos with my Iphone one morning, in the bathroom mirror after my shower but before I had combed or dried my hair. I was looking for a somewhat raw look, and made some sombre faces.

My teacher said that in order to get 6 paintings done in 3 weeks, I would need to use a fast technique, and to time myself. The loose result would be part of the piece. I decided to use the palette knife a lot, and to be fast and free.

I painted a prototype on gessoed paper before I started on the first canvas. I am really enjoying the process of working in a series, and am learning lots as I go. I have heard that one of the problems of painting from photos is the tendency to get caught up in details and to try to recreate the photo. I am doing my best to avoid that, and to use each photo as inspiration.

An ink wash drawing using one of the photos.

Watercolour of just the eyes from one photo.

Ink wash of eyes, different photo.

The start of one of the square canvases, with paint laid on with a palette knife. I am using a small brush for the eye details.

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