Selfie Art Day ~ or New Leaves!

Posted: March 24, 2016 in art, drawing, painting, positive reinforcement, Selfie Art Day!
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‘Paul Klee once described an artist as being like a tree, drawing the minerals of experience from its roots – things known, observed, read, intuited, and felt – and slowly processing them into new leaves.’  ~ Shaun Tan

This concept still resonates. I love the idea of this organic process, of transforming the “stuff” of our lives into beauty, whether that be art or prose or song.

This week, on her excellent blog, One Good Thing, Author and illustrator, Teresa Robeson, put out this resounding challenge. Anyone else up for Selfie Art Day on the 25th?

Teresa Robeson

Normally, every time my creative friends have put out these sorts of calls to action on the art front, my first thought has been, no. I’m a writer. I have to focus on the words. This time, I thought, why not?

I don’t know whether it’s menopause or turning fifty, but I seem to find myself saying “Why not?” more often in the last couple of years than I ever have done before in my life.

That being said, selfie art has always intimidated me. There, I’ve told you! This is the problem with being a perfectionist. With selfie art, I want the image to look like me. I feel if it doesn’t resemble me then it’s rubbish.


I decided to throw caution to the wind and apply myself. I started with getting the basic features and shape of the face and line of the neck with HB pencil.


Then, I started on shading in the dark areas with 8B pencil.


I built up the layering with 4B pencil as well, feathering the edges of the shading. I purposefully added more than I needed, thinking I wanted substance.


Then I used an eraser to rub away the areas where the light strikes the ‘high points’ of the face.

The eyes were not quite straight and I did my best to straighten them, yet, in the end, I had to say, ‘you know what, they’re not perfect. That’s okay.’ Again, one could meditate on that for days!

At that point, I used some watercolour paint. I added white highlights to the cheekbones, chin, nose, and hair. I used black to deepen the shading.

I cannot tell you how many times I nearly threw this sketch away. I had to get over my negative thinking. The transformative journey of creating art is multi-fold; it entails looking outward and inward, and it acts as a mirror for how we feel about ourselves. Despite the part of myself that yammered in the background, it doesn’t look like you, I continued with my piece of art for Selfie Art Day!


I love the Klee quote about turning experiences into new leaves. I feel it is true for me, not just with my small attempts at sketching or painting, but with my writing, my speech giving, and also with raising my children. All the things I produce in my life are the new leaves. And the better I feel about myself as I grow and develop personally, the more unique and expressive the art.

What new leaves are you producing? Did you participate in Selfie Art Day? If so, leave your URL and I’ll tweet your posts.

Look! New leaves!

Selfie Art Day

My Selfie Art. Ta da!


Yvette K. Carol


“Be not afraid of going slowly. Be afraid only of standing still.” — Chinese proverb

“If you can see yourself as an artist, and you can see that your life is your own creation, then why not create the most beautiful story for yourself?”― Miguel Ruiz


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  1. Hooray! I’m so glad you joined in! And I love that you gave a detailed description (and step-by-step photos) of your process. Me, I always just post the pic and often don’t even remember to say what medium I used. 😄 You got your great smile down!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Great selfie, Yvette! You spent about ten times longer doing yours than I usually do. So fun you are joining in this fun event.

      Liked by 2 people

      • yvettecarol says:

        Thanks, Catherine! I didn’t intend to. I aspire to Teresa’s amazing economy of line. But then, I put down the first few lines and to me, they aren’t nearly enough. I want to work on it and build it, spending way too many hours than I wanted to commit. I become obsessed until it’s finished to my satisfaction. 🙂 I must find your blog, next!

        Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thanks, Tee! I’m so glad I joined in, too. I can’t even tell you how nervous I was – I think it was a little bit of defeatist thinking even at that stage, with the thought rankling, ‘you’ll never get a good enough likeness.’ Yet, that’s what made the journey to the end piece so interesting. My feelings about the image not being “perfect” became great grist for the mill. The blog post evolved into something I hadn’t anticipated, also. A work of art, if you will 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. […] a look at Yvette’s selfie which is […]

    Liked by 1 person

  3. davidprosser says:

    Lovely sketch Yvette. I can’t believe you’ve turned 50.
    xxx Gigantic Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. BunKaryudo says:

    I don’t know why you nearly through it away. It’s really rather good. It’s certainly light years ahead of the matchstick figure I’d be capable of drawing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. […] Yvette bravely joined us for the first time and gave us terrific details on her process: […]

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Jacob says:

    What a warm and bright self-portrait, Yvette! Lovely stuff. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yvette, Nicely done. I missed selfie art day and am still catching up to all of the happenings while I was out of town. But I’m glad I came across this. Your selfie is delightful! Clare


    • yvettecarol says:

      Ah, yes, you’ve been away for that wonderful trip which produced the gorgeous photos over on your blog. Thank you, Clare. I’m hyper-critical of my own artwork, I’m afraid, so I don’t like the portrait particularly. When I look at it all I see are the flaws, which is why I think selfie art is a pertinent exercise for participants, because it can help us realize the way we view ourselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. yvettecarol says:

    Well, Clare, I don’t see anything wrong with illustrating with photos. In fact, I might do one of those, too, one day. You never know. The possibilities are endless, isn’t that wonderful?
    (Thanks for the compliment!)


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