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, expressions...you 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