Students in the Introduction to Painting class were assigned to paint 30" x 40" self portraits. They were asked to consider the expressive character of pose and gesture, and the symbolic potential of props and setting.
One of my favorite things about the painting process is to come back into the studio the day after a long night of painting and see what the piece looks like in a new light. During this project I was pleasantly surprised many times by how satisfying all of the paintings looked with a fresh pair of eyes.
It was really intimidating approaching a 40 x 30 piece of canvas that needed my face on it, but we did a lot of solid exercises in value and color which made the process much easier. All of the self-portraits turned out really well.
When I created this piece I was in a process of searching. Its simplicity marks my desire to sift out the person of peace I was created to be, freed from the baggage of everyday life.
The angle and composition is of a microscope looking at a world hidden to the naked eye. This semester has been a very eye opening experience as to who I am and how I should live. I found myself in a mess and hopefully by the school years end, with God's help, I will be put back together and thus be able to paint a clearer picture of myself.
Originally my self portrait was about the foundation I have received from of my family. But when I look at the piece now I see the added blessing of my classmates. We spent many hours together in the studio working, talking, and sharing with each other. This piece started as a narrative about where I came from and ended up being a piece about where I am currently.
I lived in India for a few months, and while I was there was extremely affected by all of the beggars. I came to love many of them, and so this is why I painted myself as a beggar. These are people--all have hopes, dreams and all love and want to be loved. This was my first oil painting and literally fell in love with the richness of colors and textures that oils offer. It is a very emotional subject matter for me, and so I used these warm and bright colors to show this.
It's a unique experience to paint oneself as it requires you to study yourself like never before. Choosing how to portray myself in my self portrait was the most interesting part of the project because I had to choose which aspects of myself I wanted to emphasize. Just by changing the position of your body, the tilt of your head, the clothes you are wearing or props you include, you can change the entire feeling and meaning of the piece.
I have never looked so hard at myself as I did during the creation of this piece. There was meaning in it when I began the process, but as I painted I saw new layers in the symbols; as I studied and described the curves of my face, and the lines and shadows of my surroundings, I knew myself in a new way.
This self portrait presents my love for the environment and my appreciation for its tranquility. I find peace in nature, so I have portrayed myself as being surrounded by the comfort of the woods.
This is a painting of me offering myself to God. It was my first painted self-portrait, and I wasn't sure how it would turn out. But the process taught me much about my face structure as well as the amount of light and color depicted on my face. It gave me confidence in knowing I have the ability to paint myself.
Painting myself was a dream come true and something I hadn't quite believed I would be able to do. Because it felt so momentous, I knew that I wanted to communicate not just the details of my outer body, but who I am at this time in my life. Recently it had become more and more clear to me that when I am most myself is when I am resting in God. By putting draperies all around me, I hoped to convey this idea of being at peace, and leaning on someone who is very strong, even if He is not physically tangible.