Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Magnificently Magnified!!!

WackieM, in her incredible new blog, is now giving a drawing challenge every Friday.

The first one - wire drawing - was really fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed the

The second one, well... is closer to a test of courage: hold a magnifying mirror to your face, and draw yourself.
Magnified. Sounds cool, but it makes you really look at yourself and examine each and every wrinkle, mole and flaw.

As the days went by, I thought I would just pretend I'm too busy and forget about it. Y'know, we've been hanging our show, I had to write stuff for our newsletter, I had to maintain my vanity and self-esteem! But after MembieK informed me today that she went for the challenge and sent her results to WackieM for posting on her blog - - - Aha! All of a sudden, the competitive voice in me urged me: "Go for it!".

I went into my studio, and still thought I could cleverly avoid this daunting task by painting something other than myself. For that, I needed some reference photos, but the computer was occupied by The JohnnyB, who got his KVM thingy today (Keyboard-Video-Mouse switch), and was busy failing to hook it up to the desktop. Which means the printer was out of order and out of the question. "Gimme half an hour", he grumbled.

Deprived of technology, I grabbed the Mary Kay mirror w'all got from WackieM months ago, when we embarked on the journey of self-portraits. I pulled out an ink pen (so I am not tempted to correct by erasing) and started to gaze at my magnified-self.

Typically, when you draw yourself while looking at a mirror, you appear very worried and sad. It's mostly because you concentrate so hard. My first attempt indeed obediently follows this rule. I was also trying with all my might to keep still and not move, while holding the pen between my lips. Hence the highly concerned, almost constipated expression.

Yes, I know, I do need to work more on my hand drawing skills. Still, 30 minutes later, I was quite pleased with the result.

But, y'know, I am a bit tired of all these melancholic self-portraits of mine. Mood, emotion, dark depths and the tortured artist soul do "enhance with beautiful darkness" (as Michael Bains so kindly pointed out). And yet, all of a sudden, I got fed up with the gloomy me. Those who know me keep saying, "But you are always smiling!! What's with the woe?".

Bleak is not my only side.

I wanted something else.

So, I went for a different pose.

Mature, impressively glamorous and ever so dignified - that's me!

It was such a fun exercise, and it forced me to really, REALLY look at myself. I discovered some interesting things about the inside of my eyes, found new chins I never knew I had (thank you very much for that, WackieM!), and - in the fish-face version - I worked hard on trying to render the smile I had in my eyes. It was fascinating to see how the little wrinkles and puffs below the eyes make the smile, even when the lips are so distorted!

On the other hand, holding my face in this fishy pose for 30 minutes(!!!) was not the most brilliant thing I ever did... it still hurts like hell! See, I do suffer for my art!

Looking at the result, somewhat horrified, I asked The JohnnyB, "Do I really have that many chins?".

"No", he assured me, "Just the three".

Time to make the sofa for him, I presume.


Ambara said...

These are beautiful self portrait, and it looks like they were fun to draw, I guess it is always a great idea to take some chances rather than being serious all the time.

Nava said...

Thank you, Ambara! It's always fun to take chances and do something different.