Saturday, May 10, 2008

Playing with Self Portraits of the Artist

Continuing to think about the May TIF Challenge, and coming back to the idea of a self-portrait, I dug out some exercises we'd done in art class when I first moved here. I'd signed up to meet local people and to refresh drawing & painting skills. This first one was an exercise where you had to just write the same word or phrase over and over - I just used my name, Michele, backwards, upside down, forwards, large, small, printed, cursive, etc. It reminds me of a rug or mat and I think could work as a silk painting or using a rag rug technique.

Another exercise we did was to sketch ourselves, then do tracings of the dark, medium and light areas, then cut stencils from each of these tracings. We could then use the stencils to print out different images. I very much liked the cut out bits and mounted them together like this. It is part of my face, deconstructed, and reminds me of hieroglyphics - it's like you can "read" these marks and make up my face from them. This gave me the idea to applique various bits onto organza and mount them together in such a way that when you stacked them up together, you would get the whole image but individually they would only ever be bits of a face.

I didn't get the idea to work the way I wanted it to, but here are two pieces that I did make up, using up all the offcuts.

Here are some pix of a new self-portrait sketch. I think the marks are a bit better because I knew where I was going with it, that I'd have to cut out the shapes in such a way that the stencil wouldn't fall apart.

And here are some pix of experiments with collage of the cut out bits. In this exercise, I didn't use a medium value, just dark and light. Can you find the eye, nose, mouth shapes? I can see a sort of bouquet of vegetation in one collage.

I particularly like this one - it's just mirror images of my hair shape, with the shape of a nostril making a question mark at the bottom. I think it is a pretty good interpretation of "what do you call yourself", which could be read as, "fat head" or "in two minds about the question".

I copied the sketch on the computer, then cut different bits out. As you can see, I recycle paper, so both of these had printing on the back. I like this a lot, too, the cut out shape showing against the words, and may use this somehow.

Unfortunately, none of these experiments seem to suggest working with beads - o well, that's the way it is sometimes. Either I have to use another technique or get back to fishy or just do another bead design...


Purple Missus said...

What a fantastic blog post. These pieces are all superb, especially where you printed with the words in the background, that is definitely worth exploring.
The 'hieroglyphics' piece bought to mind the fact that the Chinese read faces, there is a word for it but it escapes me. Fascinating subject.

MargB said...

These are tremendously interesting exercises - I like your deconstructed/recontructed face.