A self portrait this morning in the little sketchbook, working from a photograph. It was easy to get lost in the details of the folds and shadows of the jacket. I had to keep pulling myself back out before getting too fussy about it. “Indicate, don’t state”. I can’t remember who told me that or where I read it.
Have you ever wondered why some artists make so many self portraits? Is it vanity or narcissism? For some, maybe, but I think generally that is not the case. I often work from photographs and I would much rather use photographs of people I know than use someone else’s pictures. Frequently I find myself anxious and self conscious working on pictures of the kids or my wife. It’s like a mental or emotional block that doesn’t occur when the image is someone I don’t know- or if it’s me. If proportions get messed up or the likeness is weak, or the subject looks older, fatter, scary, what have you, it doesn’t matter to me ,if it’s me. But I worry when it’s a close family member. Another reason for self portraits: if drawing from life, I’m always available for myself. And there’s no model fee!
I found an interesting article online about self portraiture. I don’t know who the author is. The link is HERE. It was surprising to me that Van Gogh did 22 self portraits in the 2 years before his death. And curious that Rembrandt did hundreds of sketches of himself and painted over 60 self portraits. It’s a great little paper anyway, if you’re interested in reading more about artists and their self portraits.