WARNING this post contains a nude portrait. (It’s OK, it’s not me).
It seems there is a trend amongst my artist friends to be doing self portraits. So I am jumping in, along with Carol Haywood and Rose Davies to share my recent versions.
I started drawing myself in March and then quickly fell by the wayside. I recently got re-inspired by Jennifer Higgie’s book the Mirror and the Palette, looking at the herstory of the self-portrait.
The portraits of older women artists are often the most experimental. Perhaps the most visceral portrait I know is by Maria Lassnig, (1919- 2014), painted in her 80’s, it really sorts the women from the boys. I saw it in Amsterdam in 2019 and it certainly hit me in the gut.
Alice Neel has also painted an unapologetic nude self-portrait in her 80’s, which is on display in a current retrospective of her work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. See here for a online veiwing of the exhibition.
You will probably be relieved to know that I don’t have the guts of Lassnig or Neel to do nude self-portraits. Maybe later. Maybe when I turn 80.
So here are the portraits I have made so far. Most, with the exception of the watercolour, have been sketched on paper roll from Ikea.
For many years now, at least 10 years, people have been anonymously decorating the sheep sculptures that celebrate this suburbs past history as a farm. Good taste never comes into it and apart from a father and small child I once saw adding a few pieces, I have never seen who does this.
I posted this on my ‘other’ blog (largely gardening and food), which was for many years the only blog I had, but I think this is something that my art friends will enjoy as well.
Artist Rebecca Mayo has launched a collaborative art program examining “the role of trees during uncertain times”. Participants are being invited to take a rubbing of their favourite local tree. She asks “Has this slower paced, looped walking (where we set off to get out of the house, rather than to reach a physical destination) allowed us to pay a new kind of attention to our neighbourhoods and what grows there?”
I received my kit last week and took advantage of the relatively windless conditions to take a rubbing of my favourite tree. In this case one of the remnant Eucalyptus melliodora (Yellow Box), that started life on Ngunnawal land (before European colonisation), survived pastoralism and having a suburb and an oval built around it. We guesstimate that the trunk is more than 3 metres in circumference (I forgot to measure the rubbing before I sent it off).
I had some help with friends to hold the paper as I circumnavigated the tree’s large circumference.
We also had some discussions with passers by who were happy to share their thoughts on this tree with us.
The rubbings will form the basis of an exhibition by Rebecca to be held at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre in 2021.