Sunday, July 11, 2010

Artwork-a-day - Self-portraits

More artwork-a-day, or something along those lines. Originally I was going to do nothing but self-portraits for ten days worth of art. Thankfully, common sense kicked in, or self-disinterest. Maybe it's all one and the same. Here's my quick little portraits, done to avoid housework.

Back in the 80s, I used to paint fluorescent portraits on black paper. They were really fast, scribbly things and resembled masks more than actual people. The colors seemed to glow off the paper and gave everything a kind of peyote vibe. I've never taken peyote, but if I had, perhaps I would look like this.

Bravely, I soldiered on to the next self-portrait of the day. This time I used oil pastels that some co-workers of Keith kindly gave to Jackson when he was in the hospital (along with some very nice art paper--thank you!). Jackson's too little for oil pastels. Actually, so am I. They've always freaked me out. On the package, they claim to be "easy-blend" but if you don't have a stomp, and you don't practice your blending a lot, you get a lot of muddy looking muck. And dirty fingers.

Oil pastels want to be a drawing instrument and a painting medium. It's too much for one little rounded crayon to handle. When I want to make a line, it comes out smudgy. When I want to fill a large space, I get a bunch of lines. That's why this is only a partial portrait. Also, I don't have any hand-mirrors. I had to use a tiny magnifying mirror. So, tiny areas of my face are all I could muster. And Kool-Aid lips, due to "easy-blending." The frightened expression in my eye shows my oil-pastel trepidation. But I'll try again. It's easier than setting up a paint studio--less smelly too.
Tonight, Jackson kept encouraging me to try something out on his Fisher Price Digital Arts & Crafts Studio, which is one of his favorite art devices of all time. It's kind of like Photoshop for little kids with a drawing tablet and lots of digital features for making pictures, cards, party hats, coloring pages, etc. It's a very fun arty/techy toy for arty/techy kids. So I didn't tell him I've already done some work on it, and I attempted a portrait here.

I have a lot of trouble controlling the "pen" that comes with the tablet. It's clunky and takes some getting used to, but here you go anyway. It's my "missing the Northwest" look. The background is a photo that Jackson took of his United States puzzle--collaboration! You can combine lots of different images with this toy, which is very digital indeed.

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