Self Portrait Marathon
Wally Torta has issued the challenge: a series of self portraits, each to build upon the last one:

June 9, 2006

I propped up several thick books against the computer monitor so I could put a mirror there and sit while I sketch. This way I get more details then a quick sketch while standing. I didn't know my left eyebrow is higher than my right eyebrow.

June 12, 2006

This one has a limited palette of just black and orange.

I wish I could do them in a way I didn't look like I'm staring. But while I'm drawing, I'm always staring into that mirror, so maybe this can't be helped.

June 14, 2006
I thought about self portrait number three early today. The clothes I was wearing led me to thinking about it. I'd been thinking number three would be with the complementary colors ultramarine blue and orange, and the clothes I was wearing matched those colors. (Okay, the blouse is actually a reddish orange, and the skirt is striped with reddish orange and denim blue. Close enough. The work day felt longer than any I've had in a long time. It wasn't merely eagerness to get started on my drawing. When I came home I felt a bit peaked, so maybe I'm coming down with a bug. So I figured I'd better get doing the creative thing before I crash.


It's shadowing, the dark circles under my eyes aren't THAT dark...
(larger version underneath...)

Still, an early night to bed and lots of sleep will do me good. Keep well, everyone!

June 21, 2006

Time to experiment with the whole 'box of crayons'...
(larger version underneath...)

My eyes and mouth are off here. I can't even blame feeling peaked on it, either. It could be the heat. That's it. Maybe the next one will be better.

June 27, 2006
"Two Mirrors and I"

Because these weren't mirrored directly of me, but interacting with another mirror, it felt like I was sketching someone else other than myself, almost. Almost.

August 29, 2007
"With Watercolor Pencils"

It's been over a year since I attempted a self portrait, so I'm due:

July 5, 2008
"Life Twice"

After watching disc 5 of _The Great Artists_, featuring Vermeer, Turner and Van Gogh, I felt inspired to draw. I decided on a self portrait. I plopped the mirror before me and smiled to see the scene behind it of the Coptic ankh. I remembered ANKH, the Egyptian word for "life" is also their word for "mirror". The artisans often made word pun of this, making mirrors ankh shaped. For instance, a gilded mirror shaped thusly was found in Tutankhamun's tomb.

Similar type mirrors can be had today:

So I included it in the drawing:


Close-up detail here

Another serendipity is part of the journal title, 'Life Twice', shows in the upper left. So that became the picture title!
In case you wonder what the two figures are, they are dragons. The one on top of the shelf is of iron, and the other is the little one on my computer desk.
July 6, 2008
"Colorful Life Twice"


Close-up detail here

October 18, 2009
"Time With a Mirror"


Pencil presketch, erased, micron pen and colored pencil on 17x14" drawing paper


I chose a limited color palette:
Prismacolors: light peach, sienna brown, yellow ochre, bronze, pink, olive green, black cherry

March 16, 2011
"Mirror to Mirror"


I attempted something similar in 2006, but then the large wall mirror was the second mirror.
This time I did not change pose, it is just what both mirrors showed.

May 25, 2012
"Me in Hotel Room Mirror"

Done during my visit to New York...

December 25, 2012
"Got New Sketchbook"

Graphite pencil, colored pencil and ink pen on acid free paper, 17.8 x 25.3 cm (7 x 10 in.)

Spiral rings removed after the scan, but otherwise unedited...

September 24, 2013
"Another Visit with Face"

Graphite pencil, sharpie pen and 'warm gray 70%' colored pencil on 11x14 bristol board.

July 6, 2014
"Self Portrait and Our Museum Visit"


Using blue and brown colored pencils

Inspired by so many artists' self portraits, I decided to have another try at my features. Do I look a bit anxious? Was I a bit influenced by the precarious state of salmon? (The PBS TV program at the time.) ("What, no more yummy sammy???") Hopefully, the busting up of the dams that impeded their river flow and spawning will help.

Oh, the lovely art I've seen today! Just the way it was presented is an art, too. Isabella Stewart Gardner may have had a slightly eclectic way of presenting her treasures, but it all works aesthetically to be a multi-sensory delight.

Main index of Joan's art pages

Main index of Joan's pages