For the first time at GCA, we're offering a Self-Portrait workshop. One of the instructors, Gregory Mortenson, sat down to talk about what inspired this new workshop and offered some insights into his own work and process.
Most Saturdays after teaching my weekly portrait class, I found myself in Patrick's studio to see what he's working on. I stay way too long, and my wife is always upset because I get home 2-3 hours after I finish teaching. Patrick always has some beautiful painting that grabs my attention because of the bold brush work and riveting likeness. We start bouncing ideas off of one another about current paintings or future paintings and the next thing I know my wife is calling to ask why I'm still at the GCA hours after I should be home.
|Self-Portrait by Patrick Byrnes, 2016|
|Self-Portrait by Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi, 1867|
You can't have this conversation without Rembrandt. The texture and soulfulness of his paintings has inspired generations. 19th century artist such as Bouguereau, Kramskoi, and Henri Fantin-Latour come to mind for their academic prowess. But I also love a good Van Gogh or Egon Schiele self-portrait. They all seem to pull me into a time machine of sorts. I feel like I'm sitting across from them, sharing our inner most thoughts over a beer.
|Self-Portrait at 35|
I've done all of them for different reasons. The first one, as I mentioned earlier, I did for a beard study. Later I was getting into genealogy and I liked the idea of doing a self-portrait depicting each of my ancestral roots. The first was my Russian heritage where I depicted myself with a Russian fur hat. I still need to do one for my Swedish, Scottish, and English roots.
|Self-Portrait at 36 in Fur Hat|
|Self-portrait drawn with colored pencils and white charcoal|
I've done so many self-portraits that everyone calls out my narcissism, but keep in mind, this isn't vanity, this is a free, reliable model.
To view more of Gregory Mortenson's Self-Portraits and artwork, visit his website: gregorymortenson.com
There's a few remaining spots in the workshop he's teaching with Patrick Byrnes this Friday - Monday, September 9 - 12 from 10am - 5pm every day. To Register, visit our our website here.
Greg also teaches weekly Long Pose Portrait Drawing and Painting classes in the mornings and afternoons on Saturdays. Patrick teaches Portrait Sketch on Sunday afternoons and Long Pose Portrait Drawing and Painting in the evenings on Tuesdays and Thursdays with Kathryn Engberg. Fall classes start the week of September 12th and registration is open. View more about our weekly afternoon, evening and weekend classes.