I’m fast approaching 40 now and I thought it was a good time to take a look at my face again. I’ve not really done that many self portraits before , mainly because I was busy doing commissions and other stuff and also because I never thought I had a very interesting face which makes quite a difference. Now that I’m nearly 40 my face has begun to age and seems more interesting to me now. There are wrinkles and sags starting to form and I find the aging process very interesting. A nice strong light helps too, dramatic chiaroscuro lighting enhances the face and detail. I think 40 is a good age to start and I think I may try and do a least one a year and follow Rembrandt’s example.
The first image features me and our dog Max. It was very spontaneous, I just saw Anne’s winter “Pixie hat” and decided to put it on and Max got in on the act and settled into the composition. I wanted dramatic lighting which traditionally would be accompanied by a dark background , pushing out the lighter detail, so often used by the old Italian master Caravaggio. I like the more clinical and modern white background which doesn’t detract from the 2 figures and focuses attention on me and Max, coupled with a tight edit. There is also a Richard Avedon feel to the portrait with the white background which wasn’t a concious decision but occured to me afterwards.
The second self portrait again picks up on the datail in my face but is a more traditional chiaroscuo lit portrait with the darker background as my face emerges from the shadows. It doesn’t necessarily depict mt character, I look quite sinister in this portrait, which I can assure you that I’m not so I guess there is a sense of acting for the portrait or role play, again a traditional theme in portraiture.
Both portraits are in charcoal, carbon and graphite. “Max and Andy” – ( after Max and Paddy) is around A1 in size and the other portrait ” September 2008″ is around A4 in size.
September 30th, 2008