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Every so often, I try drawing and painting my portrait while staring at myself in a mirror.  I had asked my portrait students to paint their self portrait for their last assignment for class. Some painted from their image in the mirror and others used a photo reference. This painting was done in an alloted time of 2 hours. I drew it, first, in line contour and used  permanent rose, naples yellow, quin burnt orange, alizarin crimson, burnt umber and Andrew’s turquoise.



  1. Oh my goodness, staring in a mirror! I’m not sure I could do that for very long. Beautiful portrait – I just love these colors. And I look forward to seeing it on your self-portrait page scrolling down through the years and styles. Such a neat idea! I should pick a subject and start a running project like that! Geez, I always think of new projects when I come here. But so hard to find the time for more things. 🙂

    • Thank you for reminding me to add this to my portraity page, Cindy. I was going to and it slipped my mind. I take time to draw and paint my hands and feet and such. They are always available for quick studies and I always learn something from them. Yes… I get excited about painting all the other things I see and want to transpose and add my own choice of colors to, but studies like these? It is a nice break. Thank you for your comment. I think you could do some awesomely creative stuff with your self portraiture!

  2. Just wonderful, Leslie. So real. Intensely alive.

  3. Wow, Leslie! I think this is fantabulous! There is a touch of whimsy, great details! If I could make myself look this good, I’d give it a go.

  4. Good exercise, love the results! Such a great, typical expression – nice colors choices.

    • I have wanted to capture this expression and have tried to several times. Thank you for that, Mary.

  5. Love the colors, too. And the shadows in the hand and arm: just a couple of touches gives the volume. Great portrait.

    • Thank you, Nuno. I thought it would add a little punch to use that turquoise. Good eye!

  6. Such a great exercise and wonderful result ! Love the colors you’ve chosen ❤️

  7. the one time I tried to do a self portrait by staring in a mirror I came out looking very harsh. You’ve managed to make yourself look pensive. While I know some of the image is distorted, it adds character to your face and your painting. this came out great!

    • Thankyou, Carol. It seems like the more I’ve done these, the less stock I put into a likeness and just go with what comes up on the page. I think they always look rather harsh and have a weird quality to the eyes, like a stare, which is what it really is. You can almost tell when someone has done their mirror image by how they rendered the eyes.

  8. I really like this – you and your students are so brave! I think a self portrait is the absolute hardest thing to do!

    • It is the hardest thing to do until you get to that point that the image means less than what the artist is gaining by attempting them. Thank you for this comment, Linda. It’s what we all struggle with when we attempt them.

  9. Beautiful 🙂

  10. The contour drawing got your self-portrait off to an expressive start.

    • You are right. The contour drawings are my first love and, without them, I could not paint very well at all. I was able to view many of Homer’s watercolors a few years ago in Chicago. I reveled in all the remnants of graphite lines within them. I love it when portions of the artist’s progression show through in the final painting. Thank you!

  11. Intense. Are you pleased with it? You should be.

    • What a nice comment, Outside Authority. Thank you for that. Yes. This one captured something that I rarely do. Call it a mood or just something. The fact that I didn’t try overly hard for likeness and perfection helped me to enjoy this one and I hope to find that zone again when I paint other things or another self portrait. Makes me wish for a larger mirror to get more of me in, but that will have to wait. Thanks again!

  12. Very expressive, Leslie. I don’t think I could look at myself in the mirror that long. LOL

    • Yes. Peering at oneself takes some getting used to, that’s true. What I really like about self portraits are finding those elements of truth that somehow find their way into the piece. Thank you, Ruth.

  13. You’re looking rather grim and intense in this, Leslie.
    feather tapping the tip of your nose now…tickle

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