Self portrait challenge

20160128_121649So for a few months on and off now I’ve been working on my second ever oil painting: a self portrait derived from some old photographs that I took for my periodic table art project that never made the final cut. The main photo I based the portrait upon on was actually my tinder profile picture from which I only ever went on one date with a guy who is now my fiancé, so the photo holds quite a lot of significance for me and I liked the idea of immortalising the “moment” we met as well as changing the significance and purpose of the photo back to an artistic one from its short life as a ubiquitous proffy pic. Also I have always loved the diffused light in the photo and wanted to challenge myself to try and capture this. I knew it was going to be a tough ask but that hopefully I would learn a lot along the way.

I’ve uploaded some photos of the progress so far… it’s been difficult to say the least, particularly because I live in a tiny studio flat with very little space or natural light which has played havoc with my colour palette. So many evenings I would go to bed thinking “ye I’ve made good progress, finally getting there” only to get up the next morning and see that in natural day light it had more of a resemblance to some sort of dead mermaid with green hair and purple cheeks… so lesson learnt, try and paint in the day as much as possible or buy some natural daylight effect bulbs. I started with a very rough grisaille underpainting and added thin transparent layers of colour; I really wanted a delicate and refined finish similar to that of one of my favourite portrait artists, Mary Jane Ansell. I swing from hating it to loving it…. it just doesn’t feel finished yet and I can’t put my finger on it but I’m too scared too mess around with it too much… I think the hair just needs more work and perhaps more light contrast on the face, oh and the ear is annoying me too…. ah well I’m still learning, I can’t expect to be creating masterpieces just yet!

Chandeliers in art

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Stephen Huber, works in wealth III

It’s been a while since my last blog post, Christmas interrupted my artistic endeavours however I’m back painting two new portraits and working at getting my Art foundation final exhibition piece online: my periodic table of identities but more on that another time….

Anyway, I discovered the artwork of Stephan Huber the other day and can’t believe I haven’t seen his work until now considering the similarity to some of my work. His works in wealth III of a wheelbarrow filled with a chandelier echoes my own chandelier artwork in terms of the symbolism of the chandelier, juxtaposition and the narrative conveyed; the huge divide between the wealthy and the poor that still exists in contemporary society as well as a metaphor for capitalism. While Huber creates his juxtaposition with the two contrasting objects, I created mine with the material in which I drew the chandelier and where it was placed, i.e. chewing gum and dirt on the streets of Manchester. With my work however, I was thinking more in terms of the contrast between something so simple and essential as eating between the affluent and the poor with the chandelier associated with fine dining.

It got me thinking about other artists who have used chandeliers in their artwork or perhaps have created their own and there are quite a few including most recently Ai Wei Wei who created the most incredible chandelier from bikes, Pipilotti Rist’s Massachusetts Chandelier, and Danh Vo’s work. I suppose the attraction of the chandelier to artists is not only due to their symbolism but also their beauty and shouldn’t all works of art have an element of beauty in them?