The next step

I have worked from the live nude periodically since the early 1970's. This blog started August 9th, 2012 in my second year of working almost exclusively from the figure.

In the fall of 2015 I reintroduced still lifes and an occasional cityscape into my painting repertoire. Rather than abandon this figure blog or start a new one I decided to add them to the conservation.

All drawings and paintings posted on this blog were done entirely from live models or on location.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Self-Portraits (Part One)

Self-portraits, I've done a million of them. (Okay that is an exaggeration but I have done a lot). A willing, stationary, free model - what more could you ask? I seem to do fewer and fewer as the years pass. I much prefer the novelty of new faces and bodies. Over the years I have only kept the self-portraits that I think "work". I won't even guess how many attempts I've made.

The dates are vague on some of these images but I am certain of the artist.

Self-Portrait, graphite, 10" X 7 1/2", early1980's

I'm always surprised when I take my first objective look at a newly completed self-portrait. I Often appear very serious and sometimes even angry. Anger has never been an emotion I bring to drawing or painting. (Some of my models might dispute this but what they are witnessing is more frustration than anger).  I am intensely focused and this is probably what comes out in my expression.

Self-Portrait, colored pencil, 10 1/2" X 8 1/2", 1995

Self-Portrait, oil on linen, 13" X 10", Winter 1999

Below is a rare portrait where I caught a near smile. A forced smile almost always ends up looking plastic or fake. I remember catching this one fairly quickly.

Self-Portrait, red colored pencil, 5 1/2" X 4 1/2", 1980's

For a self-portrait to be successful it has to have an inner life that engages the viewer instantly. This actually applies to all art but is very obvious and direct in a portrait. It either has it or it doesn't.

1 comment:

  1. Bruce, these are very focused and intense, very successful. I am most surprised at what they don't show of you -- the thing that see first and foremost -- that is a kind and curious spirit. It makes sense that you don't look into yourself and see that, but this may be the first time, thanks to you, that I've considered not just how we think of ourselves, but how we SEE ourselves. Really intriguing. Thanks, my friend.