Immediately after I finished the last happy self-portrait I set off to making a new one. I wanted to revisit the idea of having both hands in the picture, so as to take turns painting with one hand and then the other. I did this for the first time in one of my first oil pastel self-portraits; everybody tells me that it reminds them of The Scream. I also wanted to use up all the colors that I never use, since I was running out of bright colors anyhow. So I started with pink, purple, black and beige… The sequence below was all done in one day (actually in just over one hour, which is fast for me), last November. Interestingly, I ended the session by drifting to oranges and blues, colors that I tend to use more. But one thing was different, I left some black showing through; I normally don’t use black at all, except when I painted the black-and-white self portrait, Thinking of Basquiat. And yes, I wanted to make a serious portrait for no particular reason, perhaps to balance the happy one.
I left the drawing in the studio for months. I wanted to continue painting it, but I didn’t. I can make many excuses, but the thing is that I didn’t. Nevertheless, I’ve been busy with many other creative endeavors, including writing The Magical Seaweed play, so I didn’t miss painting terribly (only a lot). But I did wonder whether I was ever going to finish this self-portrait.
Then, yesterday, after a day in which I felt like people didn’t care for what I had to say, including some of my students in the photography class, I hid in the art studio. I suddenly was in the same mood as the painting I had started over two months ago. I don’t remember ever painting with so much anguish. Below’s the result, although it’s probably not done yet (I ran out of orange!). I won’t touch it much more, as I like the looseness of some of the “brushstrokes”.
Some people don’t like that I paint myself looking sad. Is it because they prefer to think of me as a happy person. Well, I’m a happy person, but I do get sad, and I celebrate that. Besides, as I mentioned before, it’s easier to be serious than laughing when you’re holding a pose in front of the mirror. What do you think?