Sunday, October 7, 2007

ArtPact #15

(Originally published on April 22, 2007).

So, the long feared class took place on Saturday.
WackieM has warned us since this advanced portrait workshop has begun, but we kept denying it, choosing to not think about it, concentrating on other things instead. Some of us, even dyeing countless tissue papers. . .

And yet - the moment of truth has come.
The dreaded lesson of all: Self-Portrait.

S E L F - P O R T R A I T ! ! !

And not from a good flattering photo that we carefully chose, mind you...

No - we were going for the real thing. A self portrait done the good old way, drawn and painted from life, sitting in front of a mirror. And no just any mirror; a Mary Kay mirror, which WackieM has brought to class. (Never heard of Mary Kay, but I know her name makes American women very excited, pink Cadillac and all).

Before we even started, I did a quick one, just to see what I can come up with without getting any education on the subject. Just scribbled with a pen on paper, and went in with some color.

Hmm... as you can tell, I was still in the pissed-off mood.

Then WackieM had us approach capturing ourselves in stages.

First, we did blind contour drawing - which was truly fun! You look at the mirror, imagine that your hand is an extension of your eye, and trace your face as if you were a tiny ant crawling around. No peeping at the paper, no lifting the pen. It was hilarious to look around and see everyone gazing intensly into the mirror with complete silence and somber expressions.
The first blind drawing I did was not only very blind, but also transparent. After 5 minutes of deep concentration and devoted drawing, I decided that I was done, and looked at the result - just to discover that I was using a dried-out ink pen... How typical, Eh?

So, I quickly did 3 additional ones in the remaining 5 minutes.

Still pissed . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and somewhat Picassoish, I'd say.

Then we moved on to what's called a modified contour drawing, where you get the gracious permission to look at the drawing from time to time and even lift the pen now and then, to make necessary adjustments.

That was somehow less fun, as you no longer have an excuse for the creepy results that are produced...

I did like the last of the modified drawings, though.

It was a more interesting pose (well, as interesting as you can get when you have to stare at yourself in the mirror and use one hand for drawing) and I did get some likeness.

Plus, for a change, I wasn't looking so cranky. I guess I was starting to truly enjoy the class.

WackiM recommended that I take that one further, towards a painting.
And, I actually came up with two paintings.

This first one took a long time, with lots of going back with color and glazes and endless changes in the background.

"Self-Portrait #1", Watercolor on W/N CP Paper, 8"x8"

While the second was a very loose 'n quick line work, purely fun.

"Self-Portrait #2", Watercolor on W/N CP Paper, 9"x9"

Y'know, I actually like them both.

The JohnnyB claimed the first one generally looks like me. "More than kinda", was his exact eloquently technical term.
The second one is lovely, he agreed, but then added with his typical excruciating honesty:
"but you look sooooooooooooooo much younger in it than you really are".
Indeed, daily ego boost and constant support and assurance, that's what I married him for (in case you were wondering).

And I've got to admit: it was a great experience. Most of us bought the mirrors so we can use them for this purpose at home (luckily, not all of them were pink. . . ), and I do believe I'll do more of that self-examining.

RabkieM dared me to put one of these on my blog.

"And I don't just mean post it", she clarified.
"I mean put it as your blog image, instead of the photo you have there".

OK, RabkieM - done.

Ah, I wish we'd made a bet :-)

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