Monday, July 31, 2017

a study in self

I've been drawing for a little over two years. The entire process of discovery is both surprising and cathartic. I never knew I could (draw). Always said "I can't". Which is what brought me to exploring the process to begin with. Simply tired of hearing myself say those words.

Up til now, I've drawn critters and mountains, and more critters, and trees, and flowers, the occasional trailer, some boots, and...more critters. Never, until two days ago, had I drawn the Human face (or form). Too intimidating. Too scary. Too...out of my league. And then...I realized I was doing it AGAIN. I was hiding behind my fear to avoid doing something I thought I'd suck at.

{I am not a fan of sucking at anything. Pesky ego!}

ENOUGH!, I hollered.

So, rather than attempting to draw some random face, I opted to draw my own. At first, my only reasoning was that it's one of the few pictures of me-self that I really like. Also, I thought it might be fun to try to get that nose right. I happen to like my nose. It is a large, strong, Italian nose and it suits my little face (and personality) perfectly. But lemme tell ya: that strong, Italian nose gave me a boatload of trouble. Just couldn't seem to get it right. Over and over, I'd draw and erase. Draw and erase. Walk away. Come back. Try again.

{"Samuel Becket said, "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."}

Having spent more than twenty hours on this, I can honestly say I'm pleased. It isn't an exact image of the photo I used. Nor are the "parts" all mirror images of my face. But it was an exercise. An attempt to do something that I was afraid to do. And even though I drew this on sketch paper, which is to say, flat paper, which leaves little room for layering and shading and some other techniques necessary to do such work, I am honestly pleased with the result.

But there's more to it than just how well I copied an image of my face....

In the process, whilst looking at every tiny detail and trying to work out how to create those details (back to technique again), I realized that I actually like my face. I mean, it's not beauty pageant material, nor is it a face that could launch a thousand ships (hahahaaaa!), but it's a good face with strong features and ... character. What I'm trying to say is that in the process of looking at this image of mySELF, I learned some things I might not have had I not tried.

I learned that this whole idea of "self-love" is more than just about how we look. It's got nothing to do with what anyone else thinks about us. Or whether or not we're "beautiful" to the world. Self-love is about appreciating who we are. The core of our selves. It is a slow (and sometimes painful) process, but one that can heal much and change the way we view our lives. Yes, this is an image of my face. But it's not about my face. It's about how I see my SELF.

Big, ginormous, difference.

I finally get why so many artists did self-portraits. Their reasons may have been entirely different. Their motivations may have come from any number of emotional "places". But, in the end, a self-portrait is a baring of one's deepest fears.

Fears that are founded in nonsense.

Another wall...crumbles.

{Original drawing by Camille Olivia Strate. © 2017. All rights reserved.}

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