Saturday, January 3, 2015

...and what about those female self-portraits?

“The third in a series where we explore the female self-portrait in contemporary realism.

When we show our self-portraits, one of the more common questions is why we’re so serious.

If we’ve spent the better part of the month staring at ourselves in the mirror, trying to perfect a likeness on a face so familiar you don’t even know WHAT it truly looks like anymore, the answer should be obvious. But, the general public…and the people who know and love you…want to see you smiling and happy like you are in your Facebook party posts. That’s how they know you. Not as an intense art professional perfecting their craft.”

And so begins the Portrait Society of America's Cecilia Beaux Forum blog post I read this morning. And brings me to this just-fresh-off-the-easel self-portrait, and wondering if I should just start out 2015 with angst and guilt, you know, just to save time having to apologize through the rest of the year.

As I've grown older I find that I have become more private, not less, despite, or maybe because of, the ubiquity of the share-it-all social media influence. I have more flaws than I can count, and no, I do not want to bare them in my self-portrait. I have no issue with artists who do, it’s just that I'm not one of them. I enjoy and respect all portraits that carry sincerity, discipline and skill, and in no way would diminish another painter’s choice about what to show.

If you take the time to get to know me, you will be able to discover some of my numerous flaws all on your own, and I am more than willing to share. And that is the part that I wish to keep personal. In a self-portrait, we each get to choose which of our personae we want to show. Sometimes that is the best part of what we keep in our hearts, sometimes it’s how we’d like to be perceived by others, sometimes demanding that others see us naked. Your painting, your choice. Here is mine.