i noticed a pattern in my work about a year ago... my portraits of other people are usually "happy" looking... always fairly intense and straightforward. you know what you're feeling when you look at them. maybe you can even imagine what's on the person's mind. when i leaf through my self portraits... it becomes quite obvious that i have a really hard time painting myself. i usually get half way through and then get frustrated... smearing lines or abandoning the project entirely. or, if i do finish... the results are usually kind of depressing or angry looking. maybe this is a little bit too public of a forum to discuss this... but... it's my art... and it's me... and this is where i think. art is almost entirely presentation. the final product. the package. and when you think about it... in this, the era of myspace and facebook and blogging and twits etc. we are all essentially human product. we put our best face forward and untag the crappy photos and slowly carve out a piece of the world wide web... to be essentially a flattering (if you're smart) version of our true selves.
i have been wondering lately just what these scary self portraits mean. i wouldn't say i have low self esteem. but i wouldn't say i have an inflated ego either. like everyone there are parts of myself that i don't like all that much. i have things i'd rather hide. but if you talk to me, you can see that i am not that good at keeping my feelings hidden - there is one thing that permeates everything.... i take myself VERY seriously... i have been this way since i was a little girl. i was 5 going on 30. and now i suppose i am 32 going on 80. and i like myself that way.
i was wondering if maybe it's because i can't see myself as perfect that i have to skew my self portraits. i find flaws such as gapped teeth, scars, large noses, huge eyebrows, unruly hair... all charming on other people. in fact i prefer to paint people with striking features. not so on myself. when i see the proportions of my face... my nose seems off, my mouth too pouty... and i don't really like how goofy i look when i smile... so usually i don't smile if i can help it in photos... i told a friend recently that whenever i try to look too put together i don't "believe" myself when i look in the mirror... so i have to mess up my hair a little
someone told me recently that i am much less snobby than they thought i would be. i laughed. someone thought i was snobby? i think sometimes my self-serious nature can make me appear strangely aloof. i am learning to love the mess that i am. just like i would in any one else i paint.