Monday, January 28, 2013

Looking In

(Click the image to see it LARGE)
Ah, the self portrait.

I don't think you are officially considered an artist until you do a self portrait.  They are certainly strange things to do...artists spend so much time looking at the world, so when they eventually turn that artistic eye upon themselves.....it gets weird.

I mean, we are, strangely, the best and the worst of subjects.

We are the BEST subject because we are infinitely patient with the artist...because we ARE the artist.  We don't complain about having to pose for yet another reference picture, moving to another location, nor do we demand payment.

We are the WORST subjects because....well...who the heck ARE we, anyway?  I mean, I've always wanted to paint myself brooding over some incredibly dark and weighty topics, but people who know me as the person with a smile on my face would see that scowling person and say "Who the heck is that?"
I don't really know.

So, I took a page from a watercolorist I admire a great deal, Andrew Wyeth, and photographed myself looking away from the viewer, staring at whatever caught my fancy outside the window.  (I also took one looking out into the evening sun....my face all but obliterated by the glare...but that is a portrait for a later time.)  

I was pretty pleased with how it turned out.  It does actually LOOK like me, the solids are pretty solids and the lights are interesting in an abstract kind of way.  I'm enjoying using Copic markers to adjust the hue and value of the watercolor..punching in the solids a bit more and unifying color.  While I enjoy the bright, blossom-hued, watercolor paintings that most people think of when you say the word "watercolor", I prefer to have a bit of a darker, neutral turn to my paintings.  Maybe it is my attempt to be broody...maybe it's just a guy thing.  I mean, I have antelope antlers on my wall, for Pete's sake.

So, I'm going to call my first, watercolor self-portrait (well, my second if you count the one I did 20 years ago) a success.

And I'm going to hang it on the wall of my studio.

Right next to the antlers.

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