To Thine Own Self Be True

While I had originally planned a larger, more playful painting with perfume-bottle-shiny colors and a wry smile for my second portrait example, I soon decided that such a work would require a different sitter than myself.  I am by no means a grim character, but I do tend to lean toward a certain measure of aesthetically tasteful asceticism in my lifestyle, admire the soul-searching of the Romantics, translate Latin, and read a great deal of German philosophy (usually whilst listening to Bach, Chopin, Wagner, or Schubert).  My first piece was stately, larger-than-life, and grandiose; my second needed to be modest in scale but straight-forward, plain but piercing, and full of steady, tranquil blues-- a piece about a modern character who nevertheless has a close affinity to the humanities-centered education and general sensibilities of an intellectual from the late 1800's.  Even so, I did not want to end up painting a piece that looked as though it belonged on the cover of a fantasy novel complete with fanciful castles, impossibly large libraries, and a noble falcon on my arm (at least not this time).  The result is this head-and-shoulders study of me in my striped sweater and wool pea coat, with hair a bit tousled, gazing at the viewer in contemplation.

Approaching Portraiture

Perhaps it is the beauty of the flowers and lush greenery, perhaps it is the pleasant weather, but there is something about spring that encourages me to look at my world with a more precise eye, with a greater appreciation for detail, and that having been said, to channel that approach into new artistic pathways.  This spring, what my walks, admiring glances at trees and birds, and general joie de vivre led me to do was to take up studying Wheelock's Latin anew and to pursue my love of portraiture.  While I plan to expand my portfolio with a variety of different pieces depicting different sitters, the best way to begin practicing this new offshoot of my artistic vocation seemed to be with a self-portrait or two.  Thinking [above] is a nicely stylized piece with a somber air. . . I deliberately chose to work from an unflattering photograph with harsh shadows to accentuate the challenge of working with an insufficient piece of reference material (something I suspect might be a useful skill for a portrait artist).  I added a simplified impression of a carving I photographed in Dresden as the background for added interest and context.  I rather enjoyed being attentive to relevant detail, and while the background is loose and abstract, certain areas, such as the eyes and hair [below] were attended to with the utmost delicacy.  I did not want the mock-Venetian, semi-realistic but almost whimsical style of Nik in Italy; I wanted solidity and rigid stateliness in accordance with my strong academic leanings.

The next piece I would like to work on will be a much more light-hearted self-portrait and I look upon the prospect of expanding my portrait portfolio with great exuberance.  If you would like to commission a portrait of your own, you are most welcome to leave a comment or contact me through the Facebook page Christina Wegman Fine Art.)