Thursday, February 1, 2018

I am not a portrait artist: Throwback Thursday

I was cleaning up my studio today (it doubles as a guest bedroom and my adult son will be home visiting this weekend, and I've been painting a bunch so the studio was a MESS).  Anyhow, I started digging through some old portfolios, and I came across a batch of self-portraits from various stages of life...  The one above is from sometime in the late 1970's or early 1980's.  I was teaching high school, including a class in darkroom photography.  The drawing was done from a self-portrait photo that I took and processed/printed myself in the school darkroom, using a graph to draw.  Yes, when I was young my hair was dark!  Very dark!  And that's a granny square afghan my mom made for me, that I still have. I used to wear contact lenses, which is why I'm not wearing glasses in the photo and drawing.  I have never been confident about drawing myself, though I've done it many dozens of times.  I find my own face very difficult, with no clearly defined cheekbones.

My first self-portrait attempt (at least the first one that I still actually have) is this oil painting below that I did in high school, probably when I was  about 14 or 15, looking in a mirror to paint.  Such a happy child.....  Not..  (The photo on the right is from November, so kinda what I look like now.) 
Anyhow, it's very hard for me to imagine there was ever a time where I wore a pink blouse with ruffles down the front, but evidently I did.  I got contact lenses when I was 16 and then pierced my ears, so I'm wearing glasses in this painting but no earrings.  Ironically, the frames look a lot like the frames I'm wearing nowadays.  I guess I've come full circle...  (Though now I'm wearing earrings.  Back then, I thought you shouldn't wear earrings and glasses at the same time.  Too much stuff on your face.  That now seems totally ridiculous; I never leave the house without earrings these days!)

The drawing above, never finished, is from sometime during the same time period as the first drawing, also from a black and white photo self-portrait, using a grid to draw.  Not only was my hair dark, I had cut it short for the first time in my life.

 A couple years later, perms were the 'thing', and I jumped on the bandwagon.  This drawing below is from that time period, mid-80's, using a mirror.  I have no idea why I'm wearing my glasses and not contacts.  I look very young in this drawing, I think!

The photo collage piece below I think was made in the late 70's or early 80's, using a photo of me from my college days, when my hair was very long. 
The photo was solarized and altered in the darkroom repeatedly (by me), and mounted on mat board. The images on board were cut out with an Exact-o knife and fit together, so the piece is somewhat layered.  Below is a closeup.

I did these two drawings below much more recently, maybe 4 years ago, as part of a drawing--a-day challenge with specific 'assignments'.  I don't think the one of the right looks anything like me, but it appears to be my first self-portrait where I actually cracked a smile!

The last photo below is of few random paintings made while working along with students on various self-portrait assignments.  I stopped wearing my contact lenses around 1990, so these were all made after that.   I still have the question mark earring; the other earring is an exclamation point!  The painting on the left was done along with some high school freshman using mirrors for their self-portraits.  In the middle, a grid assignment done with 6th graders, and on the right, a 3rd grade assignment that I've previously blogged about here.  If you hop over to that post, which is about observational drawing, plan to scroll down a bit to see this particular project! 

I hope you've enjoyed my nostalgic stroll through some less-than-successful personal art!

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