Self Portrait Painting—Sophia's Self Portrait
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My self-portrait is a painting of myself. I used acrylic paint for the painting on a 30” x 40” framed canvas. I painted everything but my face geometric blocks of color to express the complex formation of my brain, my personality, my moods and how I live in the world. I chose to paint since art is one of my many hobbies, and has been encouraged throughout my years at Waldorf. I have learned to visualize and create, and art has become so natural that it part of who I am, and therefore, it had to be used to convey my self-portrait.
I started by purchasing a large canvas, paint, and brushes. Before painting, I researched the work of Byzantine painters and gained inspiration. Last summer I saw the painting Lawdy Mama by Barkley L. Hendricks, I liked the way the gold leaf was used in this painting, and it was a nice portrait piece. I returned to the research I had done in sixth grade on Byzantine painters, too, and remembered how this art made me feel. It felt familiar and natural to me. I learned that the gold represented the opposite of what I thought it should mean. The gold signifies a natural property, and artists used it to represent the illumination of the divine light one finds in God. My first response to the gold was that it was aesthetically pleasing. Later I found out the painters of the Byzantine period in the sixth–fifteenth centuries used it to express devotion.
Beginning with a sketch to get a sense of the size I wanted, I soon decided to paint myself. I decided to have my face looking at the viewer at the painting. I wanted to have it be a direct gaze because it is more memorable for people who are looking at you. My expression is neutral because I don’t show what I am feeling inside. They don’t miss important features when they are staring at you. Gazing forward signifies that I am willing to look beyond the viewer to the world around me. I also tried to make the face look as realistic as possible. I used a photo to reference my own proportions. Once I finished the face, I used geometric shapes for the rest of my body. I wanted my body to still be connected to who I am, which you see in my face, but my body is complex. The geometric shapes for my body show how different that is from my sense of self in my face. The geometric shapes are all form, fitting together like puzzle pieces, so they work together to keep me together.
In my painting, I used gold to highlight myself, so I stand out from the background. I surrounded myself with gold, so it is visible that I am the center, surrounded and protected by the gold, but also shining because of the gold. It turned out to resemble the Byzantine painting because it makes me look like I have a halo surrounding me, just like the holy people in the old paintings have halos around their heads. <.p>
Throughout my years at Waldorf, I been challenged to think in different ways and create magnificent pieces of art. Though it doesn’t look the way I pictured it in my head, I will always remember the hard work I put in to it. I leave Waldorf with a positive attitude, knowing that my experience with the arts here is something I will never forget. I will be enjoying my next four years at the Jemicy School.