Diana Probst, Cambridge Artist

Self-Portrait in Oils, day 14

At some point I was going to have to tackle the tiling. Today was the day.

Tiles, in general, go on in straight lines, and the human eye-brain combo is good at checking that lines are straight. It is also a human trait to see and understand perspective with little by way of cues. Two converging lines can represent a road, a rail, or a skyway without an trouble at all, just by the way they are drawn. As I have squarish tiling on the wall behind me in this picture, I have the problem of accuracy, which can only be solved by measuring, either with tools or a very accurate eyeball. However, it can be nearly solved by winging it, and then tweaking bits into place.

I chose the latter method, so that I would have something to check with a piece of string or a snap-line.

Painting showing artist in grey T-thirt, drying hair with a green towel, in a tiled bathroom. As you can see, it is mostly right, and I will be able to fasten string to it later, and measure the gaps between at either end. I finally have a good image of the final painting, even if there are inaccuracies.

I had a discussion on the painting with my tutor, and he pointed out a few things, only one of which I had seen. The far cheekbone is too sharp, and the cheek needs filling out a little. This makes me nervous, as I do not know if I should re-undercoat a sliver of the towel, or paint straight over it. Either could leave an echo through paint.

The bulge of muscle on the right forearm is too pronounced, and I will have to slim it down, or alter the elbow to stop it looking wasted.

Annoyingly, the pitch of the mouth is wrong. I have it too flat, meaning that I am going to have to go over it and undo everything I have done there. This is really irksome, as I had thought I had it right. Again, I have the question of re-undercoating, but here the answer is clear – the tones are closer to each other, and do not need drastic hiding before I start painting.

The eyes are a little too wide, in part because I have not darkened them down properly yet, and in part because of inaccurate anatomical rendering. I can put that right trivially.