Sunday, March 6, 2011
For better or worse, self-portraits are the artists constant companion. Just ask Rembrandt.
I guess a self-portrait is both the easiest and the hardest thing to attempt. Your face is always avaliable for reference, it isn't going anywhere. You also know it like the back of your hand...
This can be to your disadvantage, however. Being completely unbiased is a good thing when drawing. To wiew a reference image not as a face, but as midtones, highlights and shadows often helps with the finished work's accuracy.
But this is yourself you're trying to portray. Of course you want to show the world your true colors. Perhaps a little too much "airbrushing", making those cheekbones a bit more prominent, the dark circles a bit lighter... And at the end of the day, you look at the fruit of your labour and decide it still looks nothing like you.
I have a theory about that. I think we wish to convey a whole bunch of pshychological messages, too. In this simple drawing we subconsciously expect to channel to the world our confidence, intelligence, sexiness or whatever it could be.
To sum it up, your standards are unrealistically high.
Anyway, we have to make them all the time at school. Are our teachers sadistic? Proably not, but you never know... It started with a pencil portrait, followed by an acrylic-experiment with solid blocks of color. Then there was the clay head, the collage portrait shown below and coming up is a portrait in oil on cavas.
This collage was more fun than i thought it would be. Can't say glue and small pieces of paper have ever been my cup of tea, but I simply let go of all ambition of making it good and realistic and had fun like a little kid!
I actually like how it turned out, too! Looking closely at it, you can really see the fragments, the little pieces. And that's kind of what it feels like sometimes, right?
Coming up empty on the oil portrait. The assignment's official name is "personal self-portrait". Ponder that. I'm conscidering making some sort of Shawn Barber-inspired portrait focusing on my tattoos and my hands. Or maybe I work a bit harder on making my Maenad-project look like me and kill two birds with one stone. Not going that well, I might add:
Reference drawing. Strongly regret the angle, now. Turns out it was a b*tch to paint.
Painting the face, step by step. Liked it better somewhere in the middle. I'm waiting for it to dry before I get back to work on it again.
Oh, and I tried going crazy with the reds and yellows.
I am so, so, SO bored with my face now...