I've done 3 self portrait paintings in the last 5 years.
The first one was to celebrate getting a new job. In 2015 my job was making me miserable. I felt like I had to put on a mask every day. I couldn't just be myself. New management had taken over and we had moved the office to a new building. I was cut off from a lot of people that I used to see every day. And I wasn't clicking with the new bosses. So the days were long, lonely and frustrating. When I found that new job it seemed like the perfect time to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. I felt free, like I could finally take off the mask and be more me! So I got out my art journal and painted myself in bright beautiful colors and in a BoHo style that I love to this day. After the paint was dry I wrote all over it, frustrations and hopes for the future.
The next set of selfie paintings came this year, 2020. Emotions were a big part of the why I painted them. I was feeling disbelief, anger, sadness and a whole lot of other things that I still can't really name. This time I took several selfies with my phone camera making sure that part of my face was in shadow.
American Woman was the first painting to evolve from my photos and my first 2020 self portrait. It is a reflection of the deep sadness I felt when all this COVID 19 stuff started happening. I wanted the shading to express the emotions that I was feeling. So I tried really hard to get them right! I sketched myself on heavy watercolor paper and used acrylic paint for all the color and shading. I added the red, white and blue because I am a Patriot. Not everybody likes it but I think it's some of my best work.
My second 2020 self portrait is unfinished. For this one I used an enlarged copy of a photo and used transfer paper to get the basic lines down on the paper. Then acrylic paint for everything else. Again using the shadows to try to express emotion. One day I will return to it but for now I'm just leaving it be.
I think doing this work helped me to process my feelings. And when I look back on them someday I will remember the good and the bad. Life is full of ups and downs and I try hard to remember that.