Texture play in portraiture: #8 of 100 Kellie Snider’s 100 Faces Portrait Project

Portrait of authentic pensive woman looking down to her left, our right.
Portrait of authentic pensive woman looking down to her left, our right.

The Model

Jennifer Thornburg is a professional dog trainer in the US. She provided several of the photos for my book, Turning Fierce Dogs Friendly.

The Project

It’s interesting for me to look back at the beginning portraits in the series and see how much has changed–and how much hasn’t. At the time I began the series I was playing with stencils, cold wax, and other ways of building texture into my portraits. As I moved farther into the series I focused more on the face and less on the background because the face was the reason for the series. But Jennifer got in under the wire before I went all specific and stuff. I will be returning to the abstracture very soon.

Stenciling is messy with just oil paint, so I learned that mixing the oil paint with cold wax as a medium works really nicely. It creates a stiff texture in the paint. It can be mixed with paint or with colored mica powders or pigments. These can create some interesting colors in some pieces.

I lay the stencil where I want it, and then trowel the paint or pigment mixed with cold wax over that, then peel the stencil away. I’m not looking for precision with the stencils like you might want on a wall. I just want interesting textures. In this case I laid down some cyan blue on the canvas, then layered some lighter blues.

It has been an amazing trip to paint 100 unique faces. All ages, sizes, shapes, appearances. I am now starting a 50 figures series. What is wrong with me? LOL! Artists are truly crazy.

Love you, my friends! Please share!

Aunt Kellie