The concept of a self portrait is interesting to me because on one hand, sometimes it could be viewed as egotistical, while on the other hand, the "self" is a great thing to experiment with in almost every way, especially artistically. How do I see myself and what are the various ways I can represent that in art? Perhaps because there are so many sides to me, it is easier to accept a portrait of me that is not an exact likeness, but still in some way it represents me. I struggle more with this when I'm trying to capture the image of something more static, like a pear or something. But so far, the three portraits I've posted here on my blog have been a joy to create.
This painting was very intentionally modeled after another artist's work. About a year ago I came across the art of Kelly Rae Roberts, and I loved it so much that I have a pin-up of one of her pieces in my "real job" office! Recently and to my surprise, I found that Amb has Kelly Rae's blog linked to her own and one day, a random click led me to discovering all that Kelly Rae has to offer. Please do visit her site for yourself by clicking here. I'm not alone in the fact that I like the way that Kelly Rae does faces, and I love her collaging and simple messages. So I decided to copy her style in this self portrait.
The process encompassed many thoughts and feelings. There are many layers in this piece, even if just paint on top of paint, which demanded that I be patient and let dry before continuing on. I wasn't sure it was going to turn out like I wanted it to for about the first hour, but as I added layer after layer, it became what I'd hoped for, and then even more! I noticed things in Kelly Rae's work that pushed me in my own. I saw things I never even thought about before and then tried it out, like eyelids, black vs. colored eyes, suggesting a nose without actually defining it, and not putting ears on the either side of my face. Shadowing in color in strategic places added so much depth to the piece. I am so grateful for Prismacolor pencils!! My dad gave me my first set when I was in 5th grade and I haven't been without them since.
The most fun part was having a face (that I was satisfied with) staring out at me from a totally white background, and finding a way to fill in that white space and embellish it to make it my own. Instead of painting a background or cutting the image out and gluing it onto something else, I cut out various papers I had in my stash to fit around the image. Through this I decided the piece would have uneven edges. I also liked that to fill all the space and just use scraps, I had to use five different papers. A little red fabric filled in gaps, and some embellishing final touches helped to pull the paper designs together. It was such a fun afternoon of art for me!
Here's to good health, experimenting with new styles, people who inspire, and to Bronwyn Francis, who was born on February 6th in California to my dear Jennifer and Greg. There's nothing like new life to make you feel happy and full of hope.