8360 pixels

Self-portrait of Thomas Schürmann as pixel watercolor - 8360 pixels


Thomas Schürmann, 2017, Aquarell,
Schmincke Federschwarz covering, Lana Aquarellpapier,
Size: 38 cm x 55 cm

Self-portrait of me as a painted pixel watercolor painting with a resolution of 110 x 76 pixels, that is nearly 8k. The picture was created on the basis of an edited digital photograph.

In winter/spring 2017 there was a remarkable exhibition of photorealistic painting in the Osthaus Museum in Hagen/Germany. One of the shown works - Self Portrait by Chuck Close - inspired me to create this small edition of his impressive work. Chuck Close's work is giantic 112 x 89 cm. The 5 x 5 mm pixels are remarkably hatched with pencil in various shades of grey.

The Watercolour painting

The picture is based on a photograph of me which Annika Schneider took in the park of Schloss Dyck in 2016. It was converted into a 32-color PNG file with Photoshop. Based on this file a 55 cm high magnification was created. One grey pixel now corresponds exactly to 5 x 5 mm.

The biggest challenge was to dilute Schmincke ink in 32 greyscales. At first I believed I could do this by droplet counting - poor fool I am. 1 drop of ink is able to change a whole glass of water to medium grey. Moreover, when painting the 8360 pixels, it turned out that if you don't put a drop of diluted paint exactly on one pixel, you can't fill 2 pixels one after the other with the same grey with a dipped brush.

At first, a 5 x 5 mm grid was recorded with a steel ruler and a TK clutch pencil on the watercolour paper that had been previously mounted on a plywood board. This can still be seen and should also remain visible. Pragmatism prevailed because the implementation of the grey tones by means of dilution recipes failed. The 32 shades of grey were applied as nuanced as possible, starting with opaque black. The application was done for one shade of grey for the whole picture.