If you would like to participate, I have an activity for you. Please look at the oil painting below for five minutes and think of all the words and emotions that come to mind as you look at it. Or don’t.
This is my first finished painting of 2019. I don’t do self portraits as often as I should, but I was inspired to paint one after following realistic portrait painter Santos Cesar and watching his YouTube video about self portraits.
I think there was a part of me that wanted to stay away from doing self portraits because doing too many would give the idea that I’m Narcissistic, but in reality, they can serve two really good purposes: They can help you figure out where you’re at in your technical artistic skill as well as how you perceive yourself as a person. The last time I made a self portrait, it turned out kind of awful because I was going through a lot of heavy stuff and I painted myself looking like a zombie.
Generally, I think art should be allowed to speak for itself. The painting sort of created a new and different meaning for itself than when I originally started. If you’re interested, my thought processes and interpretations are below:
It was just going to be a self portrait using candle light, I had an idea of using a rose in place of a candle.
Roses have always been symbolic for love, and that’s how I’m trying to approach my art, and people in general. There’s a lot horror that occurred in history, are happening today, and in the human psyche in general. People mistreat each other, but small acts of love, especially added up, make a great deal of difference in peoples’ lives. Love is a small light that illuminates a dark world.
When we choose to help someone in need, when we smile at someone, say something kind to someone, or when we make a small, handmade gift for somebody, we make the world just a little brighter.
The messy hair detail which I just painted today while getting over a flu looks to me like a bit of a matted mess, or like thorny branches. You can’t get rid of the snakes in the garden completely, or the thorns for that matter. When left unchecked, they can be choking and suffocating.
The expression of the subject is a soft smile, not, but a pleasant hopefulness exemplified by the bright dancing colors coming from the roses.
And this is the direction I want to take my art. Particularly with portraits. I want to use this as an opportunity to see light in people. To find small, hopeful reasons to genuinely love people and in turn do small things to express love for people, especially people who are very difficult to love.