Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Remembering The Basics

Self Portrait - Work in Progress
11x15"- Indigo Watercolour on Bockingford 200lb

Many things have happened throughout my self portrait project but the most unusual of them all is that I tell myself every day that I will measure features against one another, stand back from my work regularly, check key aspects of distance...all of the things I ALWAYS do when working on a commission portrait . However, the moment I step into the studio and pick up a brush, pen, pencil or stick of charcoal and look into the mirror I forget ALL of those basic rules. It has been as if some kind of magnet has hung over my workspace, zapping up my thoughts and leaving my emotions alone to create an image.
While this has been an amazing experience, with some unique results, I was becoming quite intrigued that my basic skills of portraiture were eluding me when I looked at my own face!

Today I was going to tackle this problem and I was going to win!

I prepared my surface by opening one of my books on the page illustrating basic facial measurements, a gentle reminder staring me smack in the face. I then pushed the mirror back a little, allowing me more distance. I did all of this 20 minutes before I collected my youngest from school, setting my mobile phone alarm to remind me. This allowed me 20 minutes working time before I would HAVE to stop and leave the studio.
I returned to the studio from school, made corrections to the basic structure and left it to tidy my workspace. I returned to it again half an hour before my eldest Son came home, setting my alarm as a reminder and popping back to make corrections after putting dinner in the oven.
I stopped at the sketch stage and took it inside with me to have dinner. Throughout the evening I peeked, each time with fresh eyes, each time with a clear mind.

Happy that it was indeed ME staring back at myself, I returned to the studio this evening and started to add watercolour washes in W&N Indigo.

It worked....It's me.....I won!

Now, content in the knowledge that I haven't forgotten everything I have taught myself over the past four years, I hope to find a balance:

Basic structure, painted from the heart!


Anonymous said...

This is awesome- good for you! Your gaze in this one is really intense and focused, but you don't appear haggard, tired or upset, as you'd writen about some of your previous self portraits. Isn't breakthrough wonderful?

juj said...

This is simply gorgeous Anita. Congratulations on your success.

Lorraine said...

Anita this one you seem softer more like what you look like I really appreciate your talent and stick to it tiveness

caseytoussaint said...

I really admire you, Anita! This one is very good (although I suspect you look less severe in real life!)

From Belgium with love said...

Very nice blog and super selfportraits. S u p e r !

Anita Davies said...

Thankyou Christeen. Yes, still have that concentrated frown but I guess that IS me, that's what I do!

Anita Davies said...

Thankyou Juj!

Anita Davies said...

LOL...Love you 'stick to it tiveness'...wonderful!

Anita Davies said...

Thankyou Casey. Yes, I guess my concentration level may be a 'little' exaggerated but I do tend to frown rather alot.

Anita Davies said...

Thankyou Belgium!

Robyn Sinclair said...

I love how you share your process, Anita. I can follow you through your chores and dashes to your studio in my imagination. I guess it's all the sketches you've done of your domestic environment. This SP is a beauty - the structure of the eyes is wonderful. So glad you're doing it in watercolour. Can't wait to see the finish.

Anita Davies said...

Thankyou Robyn. Glad you enjoy my posts with all their waffling.
Just posted the finish of this one.

phthaloblu said...

Out of all the ones you've done so far, I think I like this one the best. It's softer and doesn't seem as stern as the others. Great expression and shading. Ie specially love how you did the eyes. Great work!