Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Artist Self-Portrait Continued
"Self-portrait - A portrait an artist makes using himself or herself as its subject, typically drawn or painted from a reflection in a mirror." 1

While researching the subject of the artist self-portrait to discover more about the subject as I challenge myself to do one, I came across a fascinating website (see citation 2 below). The author of the website is unknown, but goes into more detail on the subject than what I really want to do in this blog article. This article / website is an in depth study of the artist self-portrait and why they do it.

Referring to artists such as Rembrandt, van Gogh, Dürer, Gustave Courbet, Frida Kahlo, among others, it uncovers the artists' possible motivations for painting oneself. Here is a paragraph that sums it up:
"All of these artists gazed into their mirrors and attempted to grasp their identities. They sought to portray their image, whether it showed a clear representation of their features, a walk through their childhood or an outpouring of emotions. Some self-portraits show only what the artist wants us to see, some chronicle the history of the artist, others reveal personal secrets and a sense of isolation. Whichever method is employed each artist took a long literal and figurative look at him/herself. Each portrait is an exploration of the self."
"For all artists, the self-portrait is an exploration, an opportunity to see beyond the image in the mirror and begin to search into the soul."
Self-Portrait with Animal Hat. My first
self-portrait in drawing class.
I love this last statement. I think that is true for me. The self-portraits that we were required to draw in college revealed aspects to myself that were not available on the surface of what I saw myself to be. Rather, they portrayed a deeper sense, a sadness, a more serious aspect, that I never show to people. However, at that particular time, it had only been six weeks since my dear baby brother had died suddenly in a boating accident. I was sad. Possibly, the sadness showed to others as well. I'm not sure. But, the self-portraits I drew at that time made my sadness visible to me.

I wonder what this current self-portrait will show? What will I discover in my innermost being while painting this excursion from looking in the mirror? Will I allow a realistic portrayal? Will I edit parts of self that I don't want to show? Will I do an abstraction? Stay tuned...

1. Quote
2. Article/website -- 3. My first self-portrait -- read more at

No comments:

Post a Comment