Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Self Portrait

I will start teaching again soon.  Whether folk show up with paint, canvas or rag, they will learn to draw.  Drawing is not passive, it is an active verb.  When we draw we are training our hand to follow our eye, and under the direction of an instructor, we learn how to move the eye.  We learn first 'how to see' spatial relationships and this process of looking, teaches the hand 'to follow'.  (eventually one may get to Joan Mitchell's 'no hands', but that comes much later, maybe years.)  The first lesson for all of my students is the head, through the observation of the self.  The 'self portrait'. 

to paraphrase leonardo 'the face we love the most is our own and we tend to impose our features on the other.' to this i add, first we see our face in the other, and then as artists, we learn to see how unlike ourselves the other is.  when all the brouhaha came out a few years back about The Mona Lisa being a self portrait of Leonardo I cracked up.  Knowing some of his thought, I was not surprised that they were able to find the leonardo's self portrait in the Mona Lisa's face.

I have not drawn an observational self portrait in quite a while.  To draw one is the quickest way I know of to get back into my drawing/teaching mind.  It is an opportunity for me to once again look at myself with no words and make sure my skills are still sharp. 

I took a photo self portrait today to document what I look like to the camera.  I will start the drawing later tonight.  the progress will be documented.


comments, responses, questions, critiques always welcomed.  either here or email to

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