This is my very first painted self-portrait. When I was in 7th grade or thereabouts, I made a sketch of myself and I really liked it, but it was a very simple outline– no shading, and done very lightly because I was afraid to make mistakes and afraid to commit myself to my drawings. To this day, it remains that–a very light sketch.
When Peake Street Studios sent out the call for participants in an exhibit entitled “I, Defined,” I jumped in at once. Since the call, I had been toying around with ideas for what to do, how to incorporate as much about my art and me in my painting. Yesterday, the 8th of July, I decided to check the submission deadline–I vaguely remembered it was sometime in July with double digits–and realized, to my horror, that submissions would be accepted between the 16th and the 18th! When I got home last night, I hemmed and hewed, looking at the canvas that I had prepped with a light blue, because I felt strongly about that colour when I did it–over a month ago, when I was informed that I was selected as one of the participants in the exhibit–in preparation for the actual painting. (That light blue canvas sat on my easel waiting for me to work on it.)
I grabbed some old tubes of acrylics and gouache and unrolled the bottom ends, squeezing the paint out through the tube and using it to apply the paint. I painted straight on the canvas and finished everything but the dark blue lines and the highlights on the hair, which I did after having a close look at several recent photographs of myself. I had surprised myself, completely, when I noticed that even without the strong defining lines, what I had done actually looked like me! I guess I can say that I know what I really look like.
I call it a soul painting–it was my soul painting myself.
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