Sunday, August 20, 2017

Introduction to Self Portraits

Look at this awesome self-portrait by Morgan Penn. It's awesome! Guess who else is awesome? You, and you know why...

We are learning how to do Self-Portraits!

Self-portraits are a tremendous opportunity. Our whole lives we live in categories that often other people try to put us in, or trying to escape them. Terms like gamer, nerd, jock, dramatic, silly, are words that can sometimes latch on to us like a stain that won't go away.

The power of self-portraits is that you get to learn to define yourself! You get to say what you want to about you. 

Rembrandt made self-portraits so important by his study of how his face changed over the years. Every year on his birthday starting from when he was young he would do a self-portrait. His face became a control in a experiment documenting his artistic progress.

This portrait of a young Rembrandt tell us a lot. Notice the limited color palette? Brown... there is lots of brown everywhere. His brush strokes are very precise, he's not taking many chances. His hairstyle would fit in with many of you now. His eyes look almost timid or shy.

I would also note Rembrandt's sense of humor. This is important since most portraits at the time were either royalty, the very rich, or the church. The fact that not only he depicted himself as an everyday person, but having humor while doing it was groundbreaking for the era.

As Rembrandt got older his brush strokes got bolder. Notice how he's using contrast to create drama! Those eyes aren't shy, and look at all those colors. Rembrandt ain't scared. He's transitioned from being timid and shy to bold, an artistic force to be reckoned with. 

Next, lets look at Frida Kahlo.

Frida Kahlo reveals the secret to beauty in this painting. It's confidence. 

Frida was not only a great thinker, but she loved nature. Her images are a striking almost defiant look of who she is and what she loves.

Who knows you better than you? Time to define who you are, but first 
you are going to select a self-portrait that inspires you and doing a 5" by 7" master study. 

Analyze why this particular painting works artistically. What methods and theories are the artists using? Why did you pick this painting. Write what about it appealed to you and how can you use what you enjoyed to help make a statement about yourself.

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