Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Self-Portraits

Jane Davies here. Who is NOT afraid of self-portraits? Have you ever tried to sketch or paint, collage, or quilt a self-portrait? I have done a few collage self-portraits using a photo of my face for the face, but I had never really tried to draw or paint myself.
Why do I have such resistance to it? Do you? Part of the point of this Sketchbook Challenge, for me, is to stretch myself, try things that are out of my comfort zone, and play more. So this is how I broke the ice with self-portraits: I started by doing a few self-portraits with a white crayon on white paper without looking. Then I bravely applied watercolor washes over the crayon. How bad could it be? Here are my first - really, my very first - results.

In this one I look like the Wicked Witch of the West. I gave myself a little lipstick pout with oil pastel.These portraits just kept getting worse, but still fun.
In the spirit of February's theme, Opposites, I decided to try a self-portrait using big thick brush strokes with watercolor, and then thin lines with gel pen. This is two self-portraits layered one on top of the other, in, you'll notice, opposite, or complimentary, colors. I look so SERIOUS!
And, finally, I did the one at the top of this post, starting it blind (without looking at the page), and then enhancing it with a few extra marks in black oil pastel. It is drawn on one of my torn paper sketchbook pages (see post on my blog), then I applied the blue watercolor wash. Again, using Opposite colors. Also, the left half of the page is complex with collage and paint, while the right half is the opposite: calm and simple. I would love to see if any of you try self-portraits of any type in your sketchbooks!

13 comments:

  1. All the portraits are great, but am particularly drawn to the last one, with just the red outline and some watercolor

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  2. I really like the idea of the white crayon drawing first. Kinda' makes the process less intimidating.

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  3. i've been stalling on tackling a self-portrait, but you've really inspired me with the wash on white crayon... it just doesn't sound so scary - thank you :)

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  4. The last one is great. I'm going to try it. I really like the first one too. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Kinda reminds me of the contour drawing I had to do in Life Drawing class (decades ago). We didn't get to use fun colors or Crayons, though. Wish we could have!

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  6. brilliant exercises.... i really like the green wash with the red pen and the colour opposites.. yep cool!!

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  7. Jane, these are fabulous, with an almost Picasso-esque feeling to them. Very neat idea to start with a white crayon on a white paper.

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  8. Thanks for sharing your self-portrait adventure. It is quite nice to see different approaches to the creation of a self-portrait. I really like the one at the very top, not only because you have included a description of what you were attempting to do, but because of its colors and textures.

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  9. Your top likeness is actually that - a likeness! congratulations. I don't think it ever occurred to me to try to paint myself - where have I been? I guess applying makeup at the mirror for the past several decades was enough. A new challenge - HOORAY!

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  10. This is something I've wanted to do and you've given me some great things to try! Thanks!

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  11. Self portraiture is such fun. I love yours Jane, so fresh. the last one really grabbed me.

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  12. great idea, doing portraits in white crayon first.......so revealing on many levels.

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