I like to paint a self portrait on my birthday or other auspicious days like New Years. I gave my students the assignment for their final and thought I’d join in. Then I thought “I really should do this more often (like every day)” but haven’t gotten to it just yet. I’m finally posting this at least–it’s from last Thursday, May 28!
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I got so much attention for the self portrait at 19 that I thought I’d try painting a younger version of myself from a digitized photo again…Oy, a much different experience. The one yesterday almost painted itself. Today, it took 3 times as long, I wiped it out to start over after the first 2 1/2 hours, and I still want to mess with it many hours later…but I just can’t anymore. I struggled with many of the issues that make teachers warn students about using photos. At least I’m not smiling into the camera…that makes a very cheesy painting…but I was too attached to the features, since they’re mine, or were once…and I struggled to keep the painting a painting! Then taking the photo was hard too…and the truth is I worked on it a little bit more but the later photo is just too dark so this one is going up. Anyway, back to the subject: me, at 17, waiting at the bus stop as a Cornell freshman, decades ago. The photo has that pinkish/purplish fade…that is beautifully harmonious and hell to paint!