Abstracted Portrait

The Abstracted portrait unit was one of my favorites throughout the year because I saw my color-mixing and colo-mapping abilities improve exponentially in a short frame of time.

For our first assignment in this unit, I created a set of three portraits from photos we took in class. I printed off the images, traced out the shapes and them painted them in—the only difference was that I had to do all of this upside down so that I interpreted everything as pure shapes.

The first monochromatic painting I made was very messy and painterly, though some of my value-mapping was showing promise. There was far too much white space between hues, and many of the textures were unappealing.


The second painting I made utilized complementary colors, so I mapped out the darker shades with blue and the lighter ones with orange hues. I improved on the consistency of my texture and the fill of the canvas.


My third painting was also a complementary palette (but should have been primary). My value mapping and color mixing took big strides from my first portrait.


Starting my final abstracted portrait, I created a distorted visual on photoshop where I posturized, crystalized, recolored, and then gridded a photo of myself.

Portrait reference

My final portrait required many hours of mixing paint to get the right greys and pastel tones I wanted. Additionally, having to go over the paint various times, either as a means of correcting an off-color to simply build up layers, taught me how to mix paint more efficiently. Near the end of the project, most of the color mixing became formulaic and isnstictual.

Final Portrait

After completing this project, I can noticeably see an improved control of color with regard to mixing. I also feel more naturally inclined to choose colors that work well together. With regard to actually painting, I see my technique improving significantly from where I started—there is no blank canvas, the texture is solid, and the colors are mapped with precision.

In total, I am very proud of the finished product and am eager to start painting again with my improved skill.

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