“Every painter paints himself” – Cosimo de Medici
Having just painted a self portrait and now painting of one of my daughters, I am finding it a most difficult and amazing experience. Unlike painting someone or something I am not emotionally and physically entwined with, I know what each bit of skin, each strand of hair, each expression looks and feels like with every fibre of my being (excuse the dramatic turn of phrase, but I do not know how else to express what I feel). I am finding it so hard to translate this intense emotional bond onto my canvas, I know what it should feel like or how the tongue presses against the teeth and how the hair is soft in some places and wildly unruly in others. But how do I put this emotional tactile feeling into a painting.
I am fascinated by self portraits, what they convey of the painter, his intimate knowledge of himself, how much he chooses to expose,what he chooses to hide and how he engages the viewer. The exercise of painting ones self is quite interesting, what do you show and what do you keep “hidden”, how do you portray yourself?
When you look at the portraits I have chosen ask yourself the question – “how much of himself is he sharing with me?” The answer will of course vary from artist to artist and viewer to viewer but it is your emotional connection or non connection with the image that is all that matters.
It is the fact that none of us get the same emotional or visceral response from any form of art that makes it so wonderful and so vibrant.
I hope you had a great weekend.
See you in a weeks time, I am heading for the mountains to take a deep breath before the silly season is upon us.