"Self-Portrait" - india ink/gouache resist on paper, 11" x 9"
It only took me 26 days to tackle the dreaded self-portrait.
Why are these so difficult? It is a serious exercise in mental discipline to set aside your own thoughts about your own face and just paint. This is not my first art selfie. It isn't even the first one today (there was an earlier version this morning...it will be painted over. These things happen). And yet every time I set out to paint myself, I hesitate and procrastinate.
In the day of cell phone selfies and instagram, it is ridiculous to be so self-conscious. Especially with paint. It is basically a tool to fix everything you don't like about your own face! And yet, the artist in me wants to capture the essence of what's there, without cosmetic alteration to sooth my ego with respect to my aging face.
I so admire those who spontaneously photograph and post their images online without hesitation. And some people have a photographer's eye, knowing at just what angle to hold your chin, where to look, what lighting is best and how to smile without looking scary (my son says I smile waaaaaay too broadly and frighten small children). I am not one of those people with an instinct for photos of myself. The camera loves my dog, my children and my husband. The camera and I have a decades-old adversarial relationship.
But this self-portrait, in its straight on dark moodiness without any attempt at a pose, captures my essence, I believe.
If you want to see some people who seriously know how to take a selfie, check out this website:
This piece is available. Currently unframed. Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jen Walls and her imaJENation