‘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.
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!
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
Subscribe to my Newsletter by emailing me with “Newsletter Subscription” in the subject line to: email@example.com