Hi ho art friends.
I’ve had an idea for a canvas brewing for a couple of months, thanks to my not-so-new anymore job as an EA at Amazon. Love my job, like my coworkers, the pay is a-ok. Working there is like drinking out of a fire hose everyday.
Had I started this job in any year other than 2020, I would be cruising along, learning the business and generally crushing this job because I started in the lull between the Christmas shopping season and Prime Day. A couple months ago, I modified the fire hose analogy by saying it’s like holding back the spray with an umbrella.
There’s the concept behind “Deluge.”
Self-portrait, obvs. This may come as a shock, but I’m not much of a sharer. Today, however, following the theme of deluge, I’m going to share some of my feels about self-portraiture and the artistic themes I’m trying to convey.
I’ve always been self-conscious about photos of me. Very few, I feel, capture me. Several years ago, I took Vivienne McMaster’s self-portrait class, in an effort to feel more comfy with photos of me. It worked to an extent but I still felt uncomfortable about my weight. Had my dietary ups-and-downs over the years, a desk-bound career, debilitating osteoarthritis and hobbies that involve, well, sitting around.
Two years out from bilateral knee replacements and feeling so much better – I had no idea just how much pain I was in until it was gone. In order to prolong the life of the knee implants, I’m committed to losing weight and getting fit. I have an audacious, but achievable goal to lose 48 pounds by the end of 2020 with Noom. So far, so good. My relationship to food is shifting and I’ve lost 10 pounds.
I have to mention my dress: Ivey Abitz Blanchefleur. Not that you can see all that much of it. I love the color but it’s so dark don’t do it justice. I love these clothes so much and am saving money as I work through my weight loss plan in order to reward myself with an Ivey Abitz outfit at the end of the year.
I’ve mentioned Brooke Shaden’s White Wall Wednesday in the past couple of posts. White Wall Wednesday has been very inspiring to me because looking at Brooke’s work, I would never guess that she achieves it with a simple shot of a model in front of a neutral background using only natural light.
My gear is not fancy. I’ve got a white sheet that I can hang up or put away, a cheap ass tripod, a 11 year old Rebel T1i, a handful of entry level Canon lenses and no lighting gear. Got some flowy dresses and lots of hair. I can be my own model and shoot when an idea strikes.
I mention the hair for two reasons: my mixed media art girls had hair billowing out to one side. Secondly, a couple months ago, I considered going in for a Flapper hairstyle (why, cuz it’s the 20s!). I could paint flowy hair in with Photoshop but having a base of long hair is helpful. I added Obsidian Dawn hair brush hair to this portrait to help sell the whooshing of the oncoming wave. I love a good breeze. The best way to capture wind’s portrait is to have hair blowing in the breeze.
Another series on Brooke’s YouTube channel are prompts to think about themes and what my art is about. The Awake and Kaizen classes also include prompts about finding your themes but I haven’t really explored them until I started watching Brooke, who, is also a goofball. You’d never get that from her dark art. Sometimes the message doesn’t hit home until you run into someone you identify with.
My themes revolve around isolation, escape, nature and rural landscapes. Rural landscape says Post-Apocalyptic world to me – no cities, no technology, no people, just Nature doing her thing. I was the kid in school who was always day dreaming. Escaping to imaginary worlds was preferable to the real world.
My self-image is improving to the point where I don’t feel so uncomfortable sharing these canvases. While initially squeamish looking at the images, as I began working on these self-portraits through the lens of fine art, I began to treat them as characters rather than images of me.
Don’t worry, I won’t start speaking of myself in the third person. That’s just douchy.
Back to “Deluge.” I hung a white sheet in my studio used natural light for the selfie using my Canon Rebel T1i and remote trigger. The tiny umbrella was purchased a Uwajimaya quite a while ago because it scales well with my 60 cm and 70 cm ball jointed dolls.
The barely visible background is somewhere on the Yakama Reservation, several Awake class elements and three Morgue File images of waves. I couldn’t find a wave image I liked, so I used a composite of 3 images layered, duplicated, warped and masked.
“Deluge” is a good first draft but I want to reshoot the figure looking up at the oncoming wave with a more Oh Shit look on my face. It’s going to take more practice to take an idea to the photoshoot in order to capture the images I want.
How about you? Are you working on an audacious goal? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear what you’re up to and cheer for you.