Self portrait with eyes shut – oil on panel – 41 x 71 cm
I’ve been meaning to start a blog for a long time as I’ve been living in splendid isolation for too long and I need to get more exposure for my work in order to attract sales and commissions. Asides from that I have a lot of paintings in my possession and I’m now seeking suitable opportunities to exhibit them. I’ll be discussing painting technique, subject matter and the use of source material amongst other things. My kind of art is considered old fashioned by some people because it is based on drawing and it is hand made. Painting and drawing is an activity, like playing a musical instrument, that involves a direct link from the hand to the mind. This the kind of work that I find most interesting.
I thought I would start with a self-portrait. I’ve painted quite a few of these but this one is the most ambitious. It’s painted from life onto a warm brown ground. There are technical challenges involved in a work such as this, keeping the pose whilst working and especially painting my right hand which is holding the brush. Both hands and the lily intrude into the space outside of the picture plane. This is something a do in a lot of pictures. It’s an unusual picture because I have my eyes shut. I have tried to think of my reasons for setting this pose, eyes closed, the empty shelves behind and the lily etc. There could be some unconscious symbolism here but I suspect the reasons are all aesthetic. The shelves are empty because placing objects on them would detract too much from the face, the lily looks good against black and if my eyes are closed it’s because I’ve never seen another self-portrait like it.
As I’ve got older I’ve realised that my work is now called Outsider Art and this kind of painting is discussed in blog no. 27.