|2018's Birthday self portrait - 25|
Portraits are my thing, my jam! If I was only allowed to draw one subject matter for the rest of my life, it would be portraits - I don't tire of them. Faces are so interesting to me, which is odd because I often say to my friends and family that I don't like people. But what I really mean to say is people disappoint, intrigue and confuse me which is probably part of the reason why I'm always drawn to drawing faces. As a way of figuring people out. It's a strange dichotomy... If that's even the right word for it.
My love for faces can often give me a tunnel vision type focus. And so a lot of the time I have to make a concious effort to draw other subject matter. During my sketch a day and inktober I tried to space out my portraits to make sure I was drawing other things to widen my skillset. After all improvement doesn't happen if you don't step outside your comfort zone every once and while and challenge yourself. But because I have such an ease with faces I find them relaxing to do. I'm no master face drawer by any means but it is definitely my strength area. And with that comes a zone and flow of drawing that I often crave. The zone where you are not even actively thinking anymore but thoughts are just passing by and it feels like your in your own world with no sense of time. To get technical, it's probably a type of mindfulness meditation.
However since I've been limiting myself in regards to portraiture I've found I've drawn less and hindered my own improvement. When I get a strong urge or portrait idea I begin to stop myself either because I feel like the idea isn't good enough or because I make myself feel guilty that I'm not drawing something else. But I never end up following through and drawing anything else and so in the end I have a blank sketchbook page. I think it's time I put stop to this vicious cycle and just let myself do what comes naturally. It's time to draw all the faces!
So this year I've started myself off with the best place to start - self portraiture. Since 2016, I like to do a self portrait on or around my birthday. I actually did an inital blog post on self portraiture, its challenges and my first annual portrait which you can look at here. Even though I only have 3 portraits so far it's good to look back and see where I was, what I remember feeling and how far I've come. I know in the grand scheme of things 2 years isn't a long time but I can already see that my confidence has grown.
This year I chose to do a double portrait to show different sides of me both literally and metaphorically. For a while I've been thinking about experimenting with limiting my colour palette with particular works of Jen Mann in mind. I settled on doing a tonal blue and red piece facing each other (giving strong vibes of JLo's Brave album cover which caused me to sing a lot of Jennifer Lopez both aloud and in my head while doing this piece). I'm already thinking of expanding the series, possibly doing a green piece, maybe purple. I also want to try a front facing monochrome piece with the reds and blues. I think it would fit nicely with the ones I've already painted.
The only problem I've encountered this time round with the self portraits is the feeling of vanity. It's been a while since I've drawn myself continually and so with that can come a feeling of stupidity which I know I need to check myself on. Back when I did my self portraiture work in high school - work above - I would draw myself everyday but didn't feel self absorbed because in the end it all had a purpose - getting a good grade. What I need to convince myself of is that drawing myself does have a purpose and significance outside of just grades. It helps me practice and experiment and plus if I want to continue doing original work I'm my best model at the moment a.k.a. I'm always avaliable. So shut up brain! Why do you try so hard to sabotage me?! At least I recognise I'm doing it.
I hope in 2018 I will continue down this path of portraiture. I think I need to start trusting my gut more and my gut is telling me original portraiture is the way.