Self Portrait #7 (after Matisse) (one more time)
I struggled with this one, but it turned out to be an interesting exercise, if not one of my favorite self-portraits in the end.
My first thought was to do the portrait in neo color crayons, as that was what I used in my long-ago and less colorful first attempt (below) at the style of this portrait used. But it seemed too timid. So then, borrowing from Cynthia at Sand Salt Moon and her photoshop renderings of her drawing and painting, I scanned in the portrait and tried a few filters on it. I intensified the colors and added brush strokes: better, but still not what I had in mind.
I had also wanted another focal point to the face (Matisse had his pipe), so I wore the hand amulet that Nina gave me. I did this first neo color version of #7 in my blue shirt and amulet totally in front of the mirror, as I had done with the original attempt above in 2014.
OK, I needed paint to get the effect I wanted. I did a pencil sketch in front of the mirror, and then painted it at my drawing table. Wow, I look like my mother in this one. One thing that really stands out for me in doing this project is the need to let go of some ideal image we need to reproduce. The mirror lies, photos distort, and we (and everything else) look different depending on time, place, and situation. So an “exact reproduction” is impossible.
I remembered that I had wanted to do a colored pencil drawing in front of the mirror and then paint over it, so that’s what I did for my final portrait based on this Matisse self portrait. Can you tell it was the end of a long day and I was tired and feeling somewhat down? But I think this technique works well for doing a painting, and I’ll definitely use it again.
I actually don’t know which version I like best. But it’s time for another painter. I have a few in mind for #8.