Paintings by Ethan Cranke

For all collecting/price inquiries, my email account is:

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Distorted Self-Reflection: A peek into how I approach the alla prima process, when painting a portrait.

Motivated by my "Blasts From The Past" post, I decided to get back into painting these alla prima portraits, on at least a semi-daily basis. Still working on my larger paintings, this gives me an outlet for experimentation and spontaneity. I thought that I'd give folks a look into the alla prima process, that is, in how I approach the alla prima process. Stopping to take pictures, certainly slowed me down a little, but I think that it was worth it. I might still go back into this one, to give it a more refined look; but for now, this series of photos will give you an idea of how I work around the painting. Enjoy.

"Portrait of My Distorted Reflection"
18 inches x 12 inches
Oil on Bristol Vellum
Prepped with P.V.A. Size and Gesso


  1. lol love the title Ethan, I couldn't stand looking at myself long enough to do a self portrait!

  2. Thanks Erin! It can be very revealing, and I don't just mean in regards to what's being painted, to force one's self, to look deeply at one's self, etc.
    Thanks for commenting. I always appreciate feedback. :)

  3. This was really interesting to see! Was this done in one day? Love the final piece.

  4. Thanks Bea. :)
    It was done in one day, yes. However, unlike the ones in my "Blasts From The Past" post, which took anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour and a half, this one took me nearly six hours. Not only did the stopping to take pictures slow me down, but I think that my palette has gotten a bit more sophisticated, so it took me longer to lay in my color choices.
    Thanks again! It means a lot to me when people take the time to leave a comment.

  5. THis is the best approach regardless if it's distorted or not! My heart skips a beat when an artist goes straight to the canvas with brush, and work wet on wet! It's an exciting and spontaneous method that at the same requires consideration of where and when you make a mark! Also, the artist has to think about what kind of warm and cools are needed to sculpt out the portrait! Awesome! Very educational and inspiring!!! Thanks Ethan!

  6. Thank you, Isabel. What a kind and thoughtful remark about the process. I also find my heart rate increases when painting alla prima. The longer term projects can be very stifling at times, and this process gives me a great outlet for re-exciting myself about touching brush to surface. Again, thank you for your awesome comment. You've made my day!