Our recent assignment was to create a painting that dealt in some way with a word we pulled from a hat that turned out to be a cup. The assignment was vague, since any one aspect of the painting could reflect the chosen word. My chosen word was “Void”. I admit having decided to do a self-portrait before I saw my word, so it was fun to then apply my word to my chosen subject, which was of course me. I decided to paint a self-portrait before I chose my word, and the two don’t connect at first. Void, Portrait? However, the empty expression I gave myself makes me think that nothing is going on in my big empty head. Also, I didn’t put in a background, like I was trapped in Purgatory or something.
All in all, I am not entirely satisfied with my painting. There are some simple proportion problems that occurred early in the process. I chose to paint from life basically to prove my teacher wrong. He stated something along the lines of his own disbelief that we could make a successful painting from life. I don’t remember his exact words because I don’t listen very well. Anyway, he may have been right, because working from life is difficult. I didn’t nail down how I look into my mirror early in the process, so I was brought down by my own ambiguities. I would have liked more time to develop my underpainting before proceeding.
Working from life is very different from working from a photo. I knew this already, I’m just saying it again. I like to think my approach towards this painting was flexible enough to deal with the small shifts that would occur in the mirror before me, but I would like to further experiment with painting from life.