Self as Subject

After looking at self-portraits in class and online, mentally list words might that be used to describe the people in the portraits (beside creepy and scary–there seems to be a lot of that)  –Saatchi online portraits- http://www.saatchionline.com/buy-art?query=abstract+portraits —   Can the visual and the verbal be interchangeable?

If I painted myself as I feel everyday about 2:00PM—the colors that come to mind would be cool and grayed. I might imagine shadows as I head for a nap on the library couch. The line would be somber and sleepy, not too bold and with little energy. A bright yellow painting with jagged, directional lines would be an unlikely result.

Other elements to notice include repeat patterns.  What do they infer verbally?  When walking my dogs with the intent of getting some real exercise and not letting them stop to sniff every dried leaf in hopes that it is a potato chip—I say: “WALK! WALK! WALK!“ quickly and sharply, staccato.  What repeat pattern might communicate that?

The quality of your marks and paint application also links mood, idea and connection—i.e. Slipping through the day- slippery paint with a wet brush, not a bristle brush for a scumble.  A migraine might be depicted with very soft, gentle lines.  A cold could be “congested”….you get the picture—(without a picture)

Expanding the idea of what a painting is from thinking in pictures to appreciating how color, line, form and marks have a way of communicating just as effectively as imagery  gives you more power over your process. And when using yourself as subject, you always have something with which to work.  It becomes easier to push the bounds of translation as you employ words, mirrors and a variety of painting techniques to capture an essence of what you are about.  And after all, when we’re good, that’s what we paint whether we want to or not.

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