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on the verge of a new year, a self-portrait revisited

April 20, 2008

This post was published here last April, but because of a conflict of interest, its status was made private.  With the new year upon us, and my birthday around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to publish this piece on self-portraits.

An artist’s portrayal of him or herself has always been one of my favored art forms. I visited the Vincent Van Gogh Museum in Den Hague, the Netherlands several years ago. Seeing so many of his self-portraits in one building was incredible.  The intensity of the man reverberated in the circular building that housed so many of his paintings

Another self-portraitist high on my favorites list is Frida Kahlo, who has a phenomenally intense style of painting – striking, sometimes shocking, always portraying her turbulent life.

My very favorite self-portrait, however, is of Albrecht Dürer. He is an astonishing artist in a number of mediums, and in addition, quite a mysterious character. Is this not gorgeous?

I have been working on my own self-portrait for about four years. At present, there are five frames completed. The pieces are collage: a medium I have a passion for. The pictures are from magazines or are photocopies of famous paintings. Each frame is built with three different layers. Areas are cut out, and objects or pictures are embedded in the openings. Each piece also has a miniature, hand-made book in one of the openings, representing something I was reading at the time. The other three dimensional objects were also made by me. Some indication of the books, music, people, and whatever else was going on in my life during the time period represented, are included in each frame.

If you click on the picture, you can see a slightly enlarged, clearer photograph. The frames are each 8.5 x 8.5 inches. I am really having a lot of fun with this project. I hope you enjoy looking at them.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 31, 2008 1:57 am

    These are absolutely stunning. Honestly, every one has such detail, thought and an eloquence that can come only with the visual. I love the idea of including the book — that’s so personal and really speaks to you and your love of books. I’m very partial to the types of images you chose – very traditional, classic — Renaissance-like, in many cases. I resonate to those. (It’s one reason why the Durer is my favorite of the ones you showed.

    Oh, this such a glorious post. It’s brave for you to share it so openly, and yet, sharing with friends is really what it’s all about. Beautiful, my friend.

    Thank you, Jeanie. I think we all step out on that limb, trusting, sharing – when we post on the blog. I feel so fortunate to have found so many wonderful people to share with.
    The Durer is wonderful, isn’t it? He was such an incredible artist, and an interesting person. I think his self portraits are all very haunting. Happy New Year, happy blogging to you!!

  2. December 31, 2008 10:44 am

    Your collages are wonderful and so expressive.
    I have never before seen the Durer self-portrait. It seems so very contemporary in appearance, almost like a face one would expect to see pass by on the street. Really quite arresting.

    Happy New Year, Pamela. Thanks for being such a frequent visitor and commenter on my space.
    All of Durer’s self portraits are wonderful – definitely worth checking out.

  3. December 31, 2008 10:14 pm

    Do you ever see “Cloth Paper Scissors” magazine? I get their e-news and today they were talking about self-portraits for people who didn’t draw or didn’t want to express their portrait through a photo or drawing. This is so amazingly like it and wonderful. Good synergy — two connections in 24 hours!

    FYI, I made the cookie recipe (you can see them on today’s blog post!) They were totally fabulous — excellent recipe although woefully addictive. I need serious gym time to take care of those! Thanks! (You’re right — a little sticky, but I chilled it, and that helped — along wiht plenty of flour on the rolling pin!)

    Thanks for the info, Jeanie. No, I have never seen that magazine. I will check it out.
    I did see the photo of the cookies you posted, and wondered if it was “the” recipe. They are quite addictive, I agree. I made my daughter take the last plate full to her bedroom, so I wouldn’t scarf down the whole thing myself!
    I am so pleased the recipe worked for you. If you get tired, left over dough can sit in the refrigerator for a week, and still be rolled out and cookied.
    Happy New Year.

  4. January 1, 2009 10:32 pm

    OK, first, must back up and tell you that I miss the Advent venue. I so love Christmas and it was a treat to come here for the surprise that would pop up.
    Also, having been introduced to, I put together a slide retrospective of our corporate year at work and put it on the company intranet, you know, as a treat. It got rave reviews; everyone loved it. So thank you for that.

    Now, about this collage you’re working on. It is stunning. No, not the right word. It resonates. It’s beautiful. Of course I paged through it much too quickly to see what was what. I’m now going back for a closer look.

    You speak in an amazing art voice. Of course I love the detail of the miniature book.
    This is quite a treat to kick off the New Year!

    Oh, you sure made my day! Thank you. I love doing collage stuff, and this project was a treat for me. The strangest thing was I assembled pieces for each one without thinking about overall color of the set, and when they were done I realized they were in the order of the rainbow. Weird! That means the next frame has to be in indigo. They should be fun!
    That slide making site is really cool. I don’t remember where I got it from, but it was on someone else’s blog for sure. I was afraid the daily advent thing was going to be stressful, but it turned out to just be a pleasure. I really enjoyed looking up songs and art, etc, and none of them took very long, so that was a good thing for sure. Thanks for opening all the doors! Happy New Year

  5. January 4, 2009 9:41 pm

    Hello, Q,

    I have given you an award over at the Marmelade Gypsy — so do stop by and receive it! The award is for inspirational blogs, and I think if anyone can inspire, your advent posts and certainly this one has more than taken me to a new level of aspiration! Happy New Year!

    Aw Jeanie, thank you!! I shall hop over to Marmelade Gyspy tomorrow and check it out. An award – how nice of you!! 🙂

  6. January 6, 2009 9:45 am

    For some reason your self-portrait looks really familiar and I am wondering if I was able to see it briefly in April. It is such a wonderful idea and I applaud you for it. Doing a self-portrait in the fashion that you are doing it in allows you to put so many different aspects of yourself in one portrait. Fantastic idea and I love what you have done so far. My assumption is that this is a work in progress and that you’ll continue to do more? Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    You are right, Carl. You did see and leave a very positive comment. Thanks! It certainly is a work in progress. I’ll get back to it in a couple years – it is a lot of fun to do, but I have to pack in a couple more years before I continue.

  7. January 9, 2009 8:40 pm

    I love the look of your blog and it’s perfect to combine your art and words. I took my time scrolling down. Nice to have that luxury. Wonderful pieces.
    Happy New Year,
    Thank you, Bonnie. I strolled over to your blog, and saw that you, too, enjoy illustrations combined with words. I will be back to visit!

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