Change and Grow – Self-Portrait

My schedule was utterly slammed this week.  Every space on the wall calendar was crammed with appointments and commitments and things that needed to be done.  I thought there was not the remotest chance I was going to get to even view this week’s Life Book lessons let alone sit down and do something creative.  However, two things happened this week that utterly jiggered my schedule and caused a great deal of hassle – one of my kids was off school sick for two days and then we had a snow day – but which actually meant I had more time stuck at home.  More time at home meant I could actually get stuck into the lesson and art time was probably just what I needed to take the edge off the stress of a totally bonkers week.

The lesson was taken by Tamara Laporte.  Tam always provides wonderfully in-depth videos for her lessons but there was no way I was going to find time to both view the videos and then still have time to create.  I, therefore, read the accompanying PDF, modified the lesson by eliminating certain stages, and got stuck in.  The crux of the lesson was a self-portrait scaffolded on an image transfer.  I have never had much success with image transfers but I thought that was precisely why I should have another crack at it.  The outcome was not ideal – I think I spread the gel medium too thinly in places – but is definitely the best I have produced so far so represents progress.

6a Self-Portrait - Transfer

I then proceeded to paint on top of the image transfer and this was where I diverged from the lesson.  I did not have time for layer upon layer of media so I limited myself to acrylic paint, Neocolor II crayons, and Inktense pencils and blocked in areas of colour and built up the detail of my face.

6b Self-Portrait - Middle

The idea of the painting was to include personal, symbolic elements and text alongside the self-portrait.  It is not really my thing to be that personal and emotional with my art work.  Art is definitely therapeutic to me but only in terms of the act of creating.  I don’t need it to be a form of processing and expressing my thoughts and feelings and I am also too intensely private.  I decided, however, that the self-portrait did need some finishing touches so I added some collage elements in the form of butterflies and leaves formed from text pages.  All of those things could be interpreted as things that are important to me as a person – words and learning, growth, and change.

6c Self-Portrait - Grow & Change

Zendoodle Butterfly

The second lesson of this week’s Life Book course was taken by Tamara Laporte and was a symbolic representation of leaving things behind in order to make room for greater positivity and attainment.  It involved creating a vibrant background with spray inks and then drawing a butterfly shape filled with doodles.  It was a really enjoyable project because it was so accessible.  I have a love-hate relationship with spray inks: I love their intensity but I cannot get them to behave like I want them to.  The great thing about using them in this random, splotchy way is that I did not have to try and control them and could just have fun with them without any frustration.  Doodling inside shapes is something I have been doing for many years, long before I heard the term zendoodle.  That concept makes sense to me, however, because it is very relaxing to doodle in that way.  The sun shape is filled with what I would like to achieve which is greater self-belief and self-confidence while the trail behind the butterfly is filled with the things I want to let go off, particularly my fear of failure and my feeling of not being “good enough” in areas of my life.  Essentially I need to set myself more reasonable expectations and stop nagging at myself, get that inner critic to pipe down a bit.  We shall see how that pans out.

Week 2 - Zendoodle Butterfly