Monday, May 23, 2016

Selfie - My First Self Portrait (WIP)

All these years and I've never done a self portrait. That's like skipping How to Be An Artist 101!

To be honest, figure work isn't one of my strong points. I have a very poor sense of anatomy, and even though my college was great conceptually, they didn't teach the fundamentals of drawing, portraiture, or figure work in any medium. I just drew what I saw, which has worked for me until now, but I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and do something kind of therapeutic and self-exploring.

A year and a half ago I left a very harmful, unhealthy, and emotionally abusive long term relationship. Things were never happy and stable for long and the way it finally ended was...traumatic to say the least. When I left him I was free, but I had also become a shell of myself and spent nearly a full year just coming to terms with what I had gone through and experienced. I've never been all that vain, or boastful about my appearance, and I was lucky to have never suffered from low self esteem, but after what had happened, the way I viewed myself changed dramatically.

This is the current state of my portrait with 2 days of work, but it's only an hour or two at night before bed.
I felt dull, lifeless, and fell into an intense depression. I would cry all the time and started hiding my body in pull over sweatshirts and long sleeve hoodies when I used to proudly wear tank tops 10/12 months of the year. Tank tops used to be a staple for me and practically a trademark when I was in school.

I buried myself in work and projects to ignore the problem and keep everything I had worked so hard for going, and I succeeded, while slowly finding pieces of myself again. It'll be two years this November. I'm in a relatively new, but emotionally healthy, trusting and happy relationship, which has been very healing, but I'm not entirely back yet.

Staring at photos of myself and looking in the mirror for long periods of time has been helping me with self reflection. I look at myself and I think about all I've been through the last few years. It's nice to take this time to really process it all, as well as attempting my first ever self portrait to sharpen my (pretty much non-existent) portrait skills.

This is no where near done, but I think it's a pretty good start. I showed it to a few people and they've said that I look sad in this, or that I made myself a lot less pretty than I really am, and I wonder how much of that is true. Am I doing that on purpose? Or are people just being nice because it's not a very good portrait? Am I not looking at myself properly? The more I work on it, the happier I think my eyes I guess I'll just have to see what it'll look like when it's finished.
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