Sunday, August 1, 2010

Not really what I look like

Every now and then I take part in a group exhibition at Trent Art. It's exposure, it's fun, and it pushes me in new directions. For example, a few months ago I heard something about a self-portrait exhibition. "Self-portrait exhibition!" I thought, "... ."

The truth is, the one thing in the world I have always had a mental block about, the thing I'm completely certain I simply cannot draw, is people. But I'm just starting out, and I need to take any opportunity to get my work out there. Besides, it's fun trying to do things I can't. So I enter the self-portrait exhibition. My self-portrait ends up looking like this.

It doesn't look exactly like me, but it's faintly recognisable. And in fact, despite the uneven nose, asymmetrical eyes and my strange attempt at an enigmatic expression (blame that one on me-as-model, not me-as-artist), I still think it's a pretty cool picture. The hand isn't half bad:

And I added some nice details around the edge of the canvas.

I was much more comfortable with that part. The plants are photocopies of working sketches for various journal article illustrations I've done in the past, and the birds were done quickly in ink specially for this project and cut out to look like the others.

My art teacher used to say that you need to do 100 portraits before you can do portraits. I now have 97 to go. The three I've done in my life are:

The one of Jada Pinkett Smith I did for practice in art class (Beautiful though-I-do-say-so-myself, mainly because I managed to avoid the whole tricky question of eyes altogether. Her sunglasses are awesome, though).

This one.

And the one I'm doing for an ex-colleague, at the university job I just quit to be an artist. I took it to her and she's not quite happy with it. I'm still a bit crushed at that, because I'm really bad at dealing with criticism, and portraits are really emotional. I'm terrified that she's insulted that I've painted her wrong, and I'm gathering up the courage to go to her and start fixing it up. If I can get it to a point that we're both happy with, I'll post it here.

But now, let's get back to the self-portrait exhibition. I took my picture in to the gallery about a week before it was due to open. The owner was very nice about it (hung it in a nice place, too!) and as I was walking out the door he said, "Hey, Lesley, do you bake?"

"Bake!" I thought, "... ."


1 comment:

  1. I love this portrait...I can feel the character in the drawee (if that's a word, I know it should be subject!)

    I understand the criticism part too - if I feel I've put my heart, myself, into something, it's hard to hear even the most constructive of criticism...

    Bake! Yes...