Sunday, 3 February 2013

Another Self Portrait - Looking Inwards

Yes, there are two self portraits on the go.

But there are two self portrait competitions (the Royal Society one and the Ruth Borchard one ) as well as the BP portrait award and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters normal show coming up. The light is rarely good enough at the moment for photography (and I will be writing why I normally work from photo's in the next few days) so rather than hire a model I thought it would be a good idea to take some of me, then work partly from the mirror.

Although neither painting is close to finished (and, indeed, may never be) it has been an interesting experiment. It has been a couple of years since I've painted myself and I have made a lot of progress in that time - but there is still far to go. I feel I can experiment much more in the application of paint and colour than I would normally - this one has some very deep blues and bright pinks as well as sour yellows. I am trying to pay more attention to the brush work and not feel I need to cover the painting with an entirely new coat of paint each time - this will become increasingly important as I continue to work bigger.

The Royal Society's Self Portrait competition states it wants to be "Pushing the boundaries of self representation in painting and drawing" which is partially why this one has my eyes closed. Working on the two together - this one how I see myself, the other a more straight representation - has been actually quite healing.

Mirrors have long held a horror for me, as the effects of illness and medication (especially steroids) are visible and are about all I could see. However, I am old enough now that I will never be a pretty young thing so it's about time I became at peace with how I look. My husband has helped - at each stage of the other portrait I have asked him what he thought, and each change suggested by him has actually made me look better (and been closer to the photograph).

So although it looks increasingly unlikely I will be finished in time for the competitions, i am glad I tried - another example of setting yourself a project and seeing where it goes.

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