This painting is a bit of a vulnerable share. It is both me and distinctly not me, though they say every painting is a self portrait. The process of painting it was therapeutic in it’s own way, as they all are, but this one particularly so.
Before I share my own thoughts on it, which I am hesitant to do as I’d prefer not to influence your perspective, I’d like to state my intention for this painting. I do not intend to portray a particular meaning or message, as I sometimes do, but rather to encourage the viewer to embark on their own reflecting. To engage with the thoughts and feelings that are stimulated by this piece.
Before reading my own thoughts, I ask you to take a moment to consider while cycling through the expressions; what story do you see in the piece, what emotions arise in you, can you identify with the painting? What unfolds for you the longer you look at it? Does it engage you, or repel you, or simply fall flat?
I’d love it if you shared those thoughts and stories with me in the comments, or in an email. The comments I have received on the painting have been very valuable, I learn a lot from them.
On to my own internal process while painting it.
A lack of proper reference photos led to an embarrassing amount of unflattering selfies. I used the them to figure out how faces look at different angles, and though I did not want it to look like me, certain parts were unavoidable. The eyes are my eyes, and when paired with such a confrontational expression, it felt like the painting was drawing my attention to some of my issues. To really look at how my endless stream of conflicting thoughts and perspectives immobilize and weigh me down. Too many voices, too much self doubt. Too much indecision.
Though I can’t say that I’ve necessarily come to any conclusions or resolutions, I believe the mere act of being present, looking, and listening to be of immeasurable value, even though the results may be intangible. Awareness and presence can shift a lot of things.