I by no means am trying to elevate my position to these other great painters. But what I would like to show by a few examples of Picasso’s and Rembrandt’s work is that there is much variety in the way each painter represents there face in each new work. In style, medium, lighting, age and more. Obviously there is no one way to do a self portrait and those who have tried to limit art by there own constrained understanding have always irritated myself and other painters.
Faces of Rembrandt
Faces of Picasso
Faces of Urig
Some of what I have gained through this time tested art of the Old Masters is a deeper understanding of myself and the link it plays in understanding others around me. There is nothing easy about painting. I am sorry some try to think that it is. It is in my opinion something very hard, sometimes even difficult. We can be lifetime students if we wish, always feeling like the infant with so much more to learn.
One young artist in the 5th grade told me that artists are smart, he remembers Leonardo as being an inventor, even possibly for the vision for the first helicopter and tank. Nothing easy here.
To me self portraiture is about learning and trying to grasp something more. Each time we come back to it we learn something new and it comes out a little different with each exploration.
We as Artist take the complex and try to simplify it down to its basic visual elements, and add heart and soul and personal expression and out comes ART.
See Self Portrait workshops as Urig makes a US national tour from east to west coast. We can learn so much together.
© 2011 Daryl Urig
Self-portrait is very cool. It is the perfect direction for the accomplished or beginning artist to tackle. Besides allowing for personal expression it provides the perfect learning experience.
Know thyself, says Socrates. When one explores this it is said to lead to profound understanding about all creation. We are told that if we can love ourselves then we can love others it is the first step in being able to perform true love. I believe self-portraiture has a similar concept for the artist. If we can paint ourselves, learn from our face, our features, our expressions, we can more intimately viewing and paint others.
When we paint ourselves we establish a norm from which we can understand others. How do others differentiate from myself? Painting my self-portrait has explained to me why I paint certain things the way I do. It also explains to me why I have difficulties with other people’s features and proportions, because mine are not theirs.
There is no perfect standard of proportions, everyone deviates in some way or another, but if we can form in our mind the idea of a real life, feelings and structure we can paint our self-portrait from the inside out verses outside in when painting a portrait of another, to get a handle on portraiture. Like we never ever had before.
Can we truly gauge what a sitter is thinking or feeling? We can only guess as we try to copy the outward form. But by knowing ourselves and relating it to the outer form there is a more profound connection for the painter to understand the deep going-on’s than with any other type of painting.
The Old Masters like Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Caravaggio, Courbet Picasso and Cezanne must have experienced this as they have giving us some of the finest portraits being self-portraits. These portraits embody the painter more than any other painting. They give us themselves as they see themselves.
Please explore self-portraiture. And if you desire more, please join me in my national tour of self-portraiture workshops as I tour from east to west coast over the next few years. I would enjoy meeting you and helping to see yourself and art in a new dimension.
© 2011 Daryl Urig