Friday, October 21, 2011

THIS IS IT!! Day 3-6-5!!!

I've been considering what sort of comments I would make to commemorate this day and this one last artwork in the self-portrait project. It's so hard to believe that 365 days have gone by - an entire year - since I started this project. What started out as nothing more than a way to motivate myself to do one of the things I do best - to make art - has grown to something that has been a constant presence in my life.

I have known for some time that I wanted to do something a little special for the final self-portrait. Initially, I thought that I might allow myself to break those self-imposed rules and actually spend several days working on this last piece. I also considered several different viewpoints, themes, name it and I probably considered it as a possibility. When it really came down to actually making the artwork, however, the one recurring thing that has shadowed me nearly every day of the past year reared its ugly head once again: the elusiveness of enough hours in the day.

Many things conspired to lead me to create this painting in one setting, but I do feel a sense of comfort knowing that I worked in my element - that place where I have created nearly every successful artwork throughout my life: at the very last possible moment.  I began the painting around 11:00 pm and added the final brushstroke nearly four and a half hours later in the early morning hours.  I realize that other artists will find this practice to be nothing special or out of the ordinary, but I have some incredibly fond life-long memories of making art into the wee hours of the morning.  To take it a step further, while I know that not all artists are night owls, I think that a great deal of time working in solitude certainly is a common trait that we share.  While the life of creative type people is often a lonely one in many respects, I personally think it's a wonderful bond to share with other artists.

I know I'll catch a little hell for the expression I'm wearing in this painting.  "Why couldn't you paint yourself smiling?"  The answer is simple enough: it was late, I was tired, and I was weary from a full year of self-portraits!

So it's with a strange mix of prideful accomplishment and a heavy heart that I complete this project.  It's hard to believe that I don't have to make a self-portrait tomorrow!  I will say, however, that the experience has been incredible and the personal challenge is one that I would accept again without even having to think about it.  Thanks for reading, thanks for looking.  It's been a blast...

#365 October 20, 2011,  Oil on wood panel
Sounds: The Avett Brothers, I and Love and You

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day 364

Here's yet another example of a medium that I probably should have worked in much sooner, but simply did not. Sure, there have been a couple instances where I made some type of collage, but certainly nothing like this.

One thing that I have always been drawn to is the red sky. I absolutely love the ominous feel and the surreal quality that it gives, and that's another thing that I'm surprised I haven't used more. On the other hand, this self-portrait gathers several elements that have been staples throughout this project: the blackbirds, the face-making (to an extent), the juxtposition of images, and the overall surreal feeling of the picture.

I should add for clarity's sake that this artwork was not made with the aid of a computer, other than to slightly alter the colors or sharpness of the original photos, and I only used the most basic program for that task. (Yes, I will admit publicly that I am very inept at using photo manipulation programs!) Nope, this collage was made with nothing more than a good old-fashioned X-Acto knife, a glue stick, and lots of patience!

#364 October 19, 2011,  Collage
Sounds: Truth & Salvage Company, Truth & Salvage Co.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 363

I absolutely cannot believe that it took me 363 days to make a self-portrait out of cut paper. I have taught this process for years, and always love the results (both mine and my students'), but for some reason it hadn't occurred to me that to grab some colored paper and make one for this project!

This is one of those instances where I think the scanned image looks better than the original. Perhaps this has something to do with the actual scanning process causing a slight shadow or raised appearance between the layers of paper. Either way, I'm pretty pleased with how it looks and wish I had worked with the material earlier so I'd have time to use it again before the project comes to an end!

#363 October 18, 2011,  Color-aid paper
Sounds: Marvelous 3, Hey, Album!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 362

I wish I had a fabulous story about the origin or the meaning of this self-portrait. When it comes down to it, I had a dollar bill in my hand and the idea sprung from there. Very simple.

The real story (such as it is) is the progression of the style as the drawing progressed. I pretty much knew that I'd work with acrylic for the highlights, but originally I had planned to brush on some ink for the darks. Once I began my preliminary drawing with pencil, it became clear that I'd need to use a pen for the tighter details. But once I got even further, I simply loved how the pencil looked alongside the colors of the cardboard and the pale white paint. So that became my plan as I added darker shades with a common mechanical pencil.

And obviously I stuck with it to the end...

#362 October 17, 2011,  Pencil and acrylic on cardboard
Sounds: Truth & Salvage Company, Truth & Salvage, Co,

Monday, October 17, 2011

Day 361

It's been awhile since I've started a self-portrait by making faces in the mirror. That's not to say that I've changed my personal outlook; I'm still as goofy as can be. But several of my recent images were made without the benefit of the mirror. Sure, it's more difficult to get a perfect likeness without some sort of visual reference, but some of those drawings were probably more about how I felt, other than what I actually looked like.

So, for this self-portrait, I went back to an old formula that I always enjoyed.  This time, however, I added a new element: my hair has grown long enough that I can get some interesting effects by manipulating the goop I put in there for styling!  It always seems that by the time evening arrives, my hair has been affected by the wind, or by laying on it at some point, or simply by messing with it throughout the day.  And I'll admit rather sheepishly that I'm fascinated by my hair, mainly because I simply cannot keep from adjusting, pulling and plucking with it (this goes for whiskers as well).  While my original intent for creating this unicorn-like horn was to make Shana and Emma laugh (mission accomplished), it occured to me that it would be a fun look for my artwork as well.

#361 October 16, 2011,  Pen on vellum

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Day 360

I started this drawing with no particular agenda except for one thing: I wanted to portray myself smiling.

It was late and I was beyond tired. It had been a long day that started early, saw lots of miles of highway pass through the windshield, and ended later than I would've liked.

But it was a good day. I might go so far as to say it was a great day. I had a nice visit with one of my closest friends, I accomplished some things around the house, we went to Emma's last game as a 6th grade cheerleader, had a great dinner with friends...the list seems to go on and on!

No, it wasn't the best day ever...not even close. But it's days like this that make life worth living. I'll take more like this one, please...

#360 October 15, 2011,  Pen on vellum

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Day 359

It's been awhile since I've worked on vellum, and frankly, I've missed it. I really love the texture of the paper and how it reacts with virtually any medium (with maybe the exception of watercolor, which isn't so great!). When I made the very first marks on the paper, I was taken to a place that I love to visit, where I get sucked into art-making and time seems to stand still...

#359 October 14, 2011,  Pen