Matt Amey: Self-Portrait Painting (VIDEO)

In 2008, I returned to college to study Fine Art at the University of Delaware. In December of 2009 I created this self portrait, in oil paint, over the span of 40-plus hours of painting. I constructed the stretcher bars out of one-by-three inch poplar and stretched the five-by-six foot canvas over the structure. Two coats of white gesso later and I was ready to paint. [Video on expanded page]

[vimeo w=600&h=360] 

The onus of the project was to study two artists’ work and interpret their styles into a work of my own. I chose to study the artists Chuck Close and Lucien Freud. I used Chuck Close’s grid approach to painting to create the overall piece but I incorporated the messy, thick paint reminiscent in Freud’s work.

It was a stretch for me to use oil paint as thickly as I did but it was also liberating in that I didn’t have to focus on clean, smooth shading the way I normally do. A few times, while moving the paint around, I flipped the brush around and used the end of the handle to manipulate and mix the colors directly on the canvas.

About one-quarter of the way into the painting I decided to document the work with my Nikon D300. The resulting time-lapse shows my approach and execution of both painting styles.  It was an arduous project but I am ecstatic with the results.

If you ever visit the east coast of Delaware you can see this painting hanging in my studio at Independent Tattoo.

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