Our book club is reading and working through Mixed-Media self-portraits by Cate Coulacos Prato. We have completed Chapters 1 & 2. Chapter 2 has numerous exercises to help you get started doing self-portraits.
We chatted about getting to know ourselves, and did we really want to do that. 🙂 But of course we do. I think that is one of the primary reasons so many of us do art. To try to find out more about ourselves and the journey we are on.
I found the questions at the beginning of the chapter to be a bit difficult. Not difficult in the sense that they were hard questions, but difficult in the sense that many of us share space with somebody else (spouses, children, loved ones, room mates, etc). Because of this shared space, many of our answers might be tempered by the compromises we make about decor and food and lifestyles when we share living space. Perhaps the better questions would have been what would your space be like if you lived alone. I know that my shared space is different than what my own space would be like (at least I think it would be). Granted we are often living with people who are similar to us, so the choices and compromises aren’t severe, but I still think that your living space/style would be different if you are alone or if you are living with others. What do you think?
We also shared some of the artistic exercises we had done from the chapter. The transparency on the mirror was a common one. I have done that exercise a couple of different times but I couldn’t find my transparencies to share. Perhaps I didn’t keep them. I did create a mixed media piece with my transparencies (this is an older piece) where I layered several of the transparency drawings on top of each other and printed the result out on fabric. Then I added stitching and paint and trim, etc. The layering made it less scary as a self-portrait.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway is that all of our artwork is actually self-portraiture in some way or other. Just because there isn’t a face on your art (which is what we usually think of when we think about self-portraits) doesn’t mean that your self is not part of the work. We all have certain colors, styles, mediums, etc. that are unique to us. Part of you is in every piece of art you make. 🙂
Again, there were lots of examples in the book of self-portraits from a variety of artists as well as helpful hints to get you started creating self-portraits. I enjoyed reading about the process that many of the artists went through to create their self-portraits.
Next month we will finish the book and hopefully have a better grasp of our own self and the ideas behind doing self-portraits.
Our next book club meeting will be April 25th at 1pm. Come and join the discussion or just follow along here on the blog. Please share your thoughts about creating self-portraits. Have you done one? Why did you create it? What did you like or dislike about the process and the results?
Let Your Inner Artist Out To Play
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