Saturday, May 4, 2013

Nude Self-Portrait

I've purposely held off on painting this self-portrait until the end of the semester.
Today is the day. I am embarking on my first (not that there will be any others
kind of first, but I've never done this before kind of first) nude painting of 
Thanks to my anatomy and figure studio classes, I can practically paint naked
people with my eyes closed. My quick studies class, however, has stretched me, 
probably beyond what it ever intended. For all of the paintings on our 
assignments list, we have to provide the subject, be it still life, figure, animal, 
or furniture. My eyes scanned the list at the onset of the semester. Everything 
looked fairly easy to ascertain my own model or objects for...until landing on 
the "nude female" and "nude male" assignments. 
Without luck finding any response to my query on posing for a painting,
I decided I would paint myself for the "nude female". (As a side note, I
have yet to find a willing male, so if anyone's interested, let me know by
 the end of today. Really. I'm serious.)

I've done quite a number of self-portraits, but never one like this. 
Self-portraits are very humbling and almost cathartic in a way. With any 
portrait the goal is to capture the likeness of the person(s). This means looking
beyond their outward appearance and using elements of pose, gesture, color, 
value, and the like to render some of the personality into the brushstrokes, onto 
the canvas. It is the same with self-portraits. They force you to really look at yourself, 
to be honest with who you are in not only a physical, but also an emotional and 
mental capacity. It is somewhat spiritual to look at the outward reflection of your
inner being, and then to record what is there. 

Painting a self portrait forces you to be vulnerable and authentic with yourself. 
Especially when you are painting yourself stripped of clothing. You are left to 
discover and document the barest essence of yourself between the skin 
and muscle and bone. 
Here is mine...  
Nude Self-Portrait, 11x14 oil on artboard, 90 minutes


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