Painting my first self portrait

As an artist, my favourite go-to medium was always acrylics, until the last couple of years when I discovered my love of watercolours for painting pet portraits and other bespoke commissions. However, I knew when painting a face, that watercolours would prove tricky for me. I've found a fantastic way of working, when producing my paintings, where I add lots of colour, work quickly, blow the paint to create a splatter effect and produce a very expressive effect. 

I felt like, being so new to human portraiture that I'd have to approach it a bit differently, working more slowly and methodically and building up the layers if I was going to attempt my face in watercolours. 

Watercolour self portrait painting by Anna Hughes, artist and painted at Anya's Studio


Anyway, here's the result of my attempt. Still being in lockdown and on full time child care duty I didn't have as much time as I would have liked as I had to snatch some painting time in the kitchen whilst the kids watched a film. I definitely overworked it by the end in trying to build up the layers of colour and I always find it tricky knowing when to stop!


So, as soon as I could find another child free moment, I set to work in acrylics, using a different reference photo. I love how forgiving acrylics are. You can build up layers and they dry quickly and are fairly opaque so you can cover mistakes easily.


Once again I worked from the breakfast bar, rather than my studio, whilst the kids watched a film and in a couple of hours I managed to paint another self portrait. It’s amazing how productive you can be when you have such limited time. It pushes you to work faster and not overthink. I was also working I’m tricky light, with the sun streaming in from the window on my right. 

I loved working with the bright vibrant colours that acrylics offer and feel like I really managed to capture a good likeness but also some energy through the visible brush strokes and speed at which I painted. 

Self portrait in bright acrylic paint by Anna Hughes of Anya’s Studio. Portrait artist

The painting is A4 sized and used acrylics by both Culture Hustle and Daler Rowney. 

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