The assignment: complete a self portrait for tafe.
The painting: attempted.
The irony: it came unstuck.
I doubt few others can look ‘through’ their self portrait and see themselves behind it!
And the picture below brings a new meaning to ‘I was torn.’
My father asked me whether one of my portraits I posted recently was a self portrait. It made me question how bad my wrinkles were getting as it was a portrait inspired by a photograph of a man of about 102 years.
Dad says that my self portraits are quite unflattering. I know that they are indeed not always life-like! I actually never worry about them being life like. I’m sure in some circles that’s an oxymoron: surely a self-portrait should bear some resemblance to the person? Well, I think that depends on what the ‘likeness’ is. I think one can paint an entirely abstract painting and it could still be a self-portrait if it suitably capture one’s mood or personality.
Below is probably the most life like portrait of me: it was drawn by Andrew on a canvas that I had painted. I then continued to paint after Andrew had ‘sketched me in.’
As for a self-portrait, here’s my latest effort. It’s mixed media with the face mainly in pen and the other areas in acrylic, pen and caran d’ache neocolor I’s (fancy crayons). The original is actually rectangular and reasonably brightly coloured. As it wasn’t quite working for me, I photographed it and then played around with that. I like the end result – reminiscent of humpty dumpty in Alice in Wonderland – and we all know that I can’t but fall in love with something which reminds me of Alice.
Oh, 9 day fortnight, how I love thee! This time the 10th day has been used for sewing, painting and munching. Pictured is the heirloom work I’ve completed to use a centre panel for a vintage slip. The fabric is white cotton sateen with cotton lace insertion and embroidery using a winged needle. I’m delighted with the result. It’s delicate and ‘fancy’ without being frilly! My painting (pictured below) still needs more work. I’ve eradicated the double chin (present because I’d made the face too long not because I have one at this point); and attempted to move the lips to the correct position. I want to know why lips are so difficult to paint. Unlike hair, I can’t just avoid painting them! Unless I develop a style this only incorporates individuals with no mouths. Perhaps someone would consider it a statement on silence. You never know what interpretation art critics are going to place on something. Fortunately for me the only critic I have to deal with is myself. In most areas that is indeed a most formidable critic but in the art area I appear to let myself off the hook more often.
I am not a patient artist. The heat gun is my friend.
Acrylics can bubble when you use a heat gun, but given my impatience, I have mastered the art of blasting wet paint at the appropriate distance. This particular piece would not look as it does, were it not for my impatience.
However, unlike usual, I didn’t heat gun the paint and failed to realise how wet it remained as I continued to work. Brushes started to annoy me, so I used my fingers instead. This results in smudging and blending of the paint together which I had not expected. Details of the face became lost, and I had what I thought was a mess.
If impatience is a key trait, initial dislike of my work is another.
Which is where the 24 hours rule comes in. No paintings are allowed to be obliterated with titanium white at the end of the evening. No matter how disappointing, I just go to bed. This is because I have discovered time and time again, that my dislike diminishes. In this case, I got out a pen the next night, brushes in a few details, added a tiny amount of paint and a painting that the night before would have been trashed, became something I really liked. I’m waiting for this ridiculous rule to fail me and for a piece to look just as bad 24 hours later as I thought it to be… and when that time comes I’ll be ready with the artists eraser – white paint. But until then… 24 hours never hurt anyone and the only one to see it during that time is the cat.
The background of this piece was collaged during Traci’s class. Many people were trying out the technique involving the heat and bond, but with only one iron and it being Sunday afternoon, my energy was wading and I stuck to my table and glued bits and pieces together. Only later when I got home did the face emerge from the pieces and more acrylic was added on the left hand side (yes, again… a face with one eye only so the left hand side got “wiped” out). I think the print said something like “out of colour zone” or “out of colour comfort zone”… of which, only the “out of” remains. Traci works with such bright colours and emphasises not to mix three primaries to avoid muddy browns. As a girl who loves her browns, I was having trouble going with bright. For me, this piece is bright!