“Self-Portrait” — oil on canvas 14×11″ by Margie Guyot

Until fairly recently I avoided portraits. Then I took a workshop with Michigan artist Sam Knecht. Three amazing revelations he told us that changed my life forever:

1) Expect it to look really bad in the beginning, but stick with it & figure it out. Believe it or not, but this was quite a relief to hear! It’s given me courage to tackle things I never would have dared.

2) Use a kolinsky sable filbert brush. Wow — I’d been struggling to do delicate contours and shading with my favorite, trusty-old brush: a stiff, frayed-out #4 flat. Kind of like trying to peel an apple with a buzz saw!

3) Skin colors can be mixed with just 4 colors: white, black, red and yellow ochre. Who knew?

I sat in front of an old mirror and pecked away on this for a few days – with many interruptions, of course. It was kind of a test before starting a larger work. Stay tuned!

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