One of the challenges I’ve encountered while traversing a philosophical path has been developing the ability to distinguish between the times when it’s more appropriate to fight or to flow. Tricky, tricky, tricky. About a month ago while I was in full preparation mode for a piece I am starting to flesh out, I received information from a handful of unrelated sources over the course of the day involving portraiture. After considering the subject for a short time, I set it aside and continued with my task at hand which was relatively easy to do. I have little interest in portraits in general, unless I perceive more information in the piece than just the sitter, and I’ve had zero interest in self-portraits as I’ve never been comfortable appearing in photos or video to begin with. I actually drew one self-portrait when I was about 15 years old, and since that time I’ve completely lacked any desire to revisit the subject.
But then last week I received prodding from disparate sources regarding portraits again, so I decided to take a quick trip to investigate. I started sketching a self-portrait on Wednesday night, and it was easily the most uncomfortable thing I’ve ever undertaken artistically. Over the course of the hour that I worked on it I had to leave the easel every few minutes or so and walk around the house to get away from it, I couldn’t look at it for extended periods of time, overall it was a very strange experience. It wasn’t until 3 days later that I finally finished it, and even that was a struggle, although once I got to the point of reducing everything to contours, shapes, and angles, my stress level diminished accordingly. Regardless, I was fatigued from the work fairly quickly and decided to let it go for the time being. I’m happy with my first pass, and I think that my prize at the end of this endeavor is the desire to do more self-portraiture in order to improve and expand on what I’ve started, as there seems to be a lot of potential for exploration here. I’ve also acquired an interesting heightened awareness of the bones in my face. So even though it appears to be a successful flow this time, I am kind of excited to return to my task at hand.