Throughout history the self portrait has played an important role in many artists’ work. If you haven’t yet been tempted during lockdown to use yourself as model, now is the perfect opportunity! Drawing or painting the face is just a matter of exploring basic forms – have some fun and see what you can create.
The objective of this exercise is to enjoy exploring the fascinating genre of the self portrait !
Self portraits can be a simple representation of what you see in the mirror, or they can serve as a window to the interior self. Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s colourful and detailed works go beyond the purely visual portrayal, dealing with her various physical injuries & psychological states. She was quoted as saying “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best” She could have been talking about making art in COVID lockdown !
Who are you? Which part of your persona will you present to the world? What do you want your self portrait say about you? Do you want to convey a deeper sense of your interior self? make a political statement? set yourself in a particular historical period? or perhaps create a glamourous, idealised image? Maybe a cubist approach appeals? The field is wide open.
- Work from a mirror, or photographs
- Position yourself with a strong light from a window or lamp so that the planes and forms of the face are modelled (straight on lighting will tend to flatten the forms).
- You can start by exploring individual features in sketch studies (eyes, nose, mouth) or work on the complete face
- Use tone, line, colour to model the features
- Try different head & body positions
- Research the internet for guidance on proportion – most faces conform to key general relationships. Here’s a very basic reference https://www.thedrawingsource.com/proportions-of-the-face.html
- Practice makes perfect – it’s the process that’s important, not the end result.
- Create a new piece or use one from your own collection
- There is no limit to the number of works you can submit using the email link below.
- Submitted works will be posted on our website gallery and also on our social media accounts.
- Submissions due via email by midnight Sunday 6 September.
For inspiration, look at the self portraits of Albrecht Durer, Rembrandt, Paul Gauguin, Frida Kahlo, Prudence Flint, Van Gogh, Andy Warhol, Picasso, the intriguing personas of Cindy Sherman.
If you don’t want to use yourself as model, bribe someone in your household to sit still, give them some headphones & podcast or music of their choice and draw, paint or sketch what you see, and what you feel.
Relax & Enjoy !
Enjoy our slide show
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