The self-portrait happens. It presents itself as subject matter at various times throughout an artist’s life, and when entertained, the resulting image is always revealing. It is especially revealing in retrospect. Sometimes it presents itself symbolically or abstractly and may not be identified as a self-portrait until years pass.
A self-portrait can mend, amend, discard, and disregard. It can be healing. It can be directive. When an artist concentrates on a subject, self or otherwise, the mind begins to make associations. It begins to open, to relax, and to move into higher frequencies that bypass normal thought pathways. It begins to create new links, new associations, and offer new considerations for inspiration of expression. Fresh perception equals a new mirror for reflection, preparation, intervention.
The self-portrait differs from artistic meditation. Meditation goes beyond bypassing personal interstates of thought patterns that engage the creative mind. Meditation clears and reprograms. There need be no association, no past, present, or future; there is just heightened sensitivity and expanded perceptual experience. As with any artistic investigation, the self-portrait can uplift energetic field to connect with expanded consciousness. The creation of a self-portrait, no matter how revealing, does not naturally lead to a meditative state. But, with a bit of Grace and clear focus, it just might!
The process art movement began in the U.S. and Europe in the mid 1960s. It has roots in performance art and Dadaism. The emphasis of the artist, in contrast to that of product-focused artists, regards the processes involved in creating art and any actions used to make the work of art. Often in process art, the ephemeral nature and insubstantiality of materials are showcased and highlighted.
Exploring the creative process in art highlights the idea that nothing is ‘finished’ and nothing ‘begins’. Life is a continuum. History is a continuum. Consciousness is always evolving. Cyclically, individual growth retraces, reworks, and resurfaces with new awareness. You are ‘in process’. ‘Relax, enjoy the journey, and move forward’ is a preferred motto for today’s lifestyle. Series pieces, the ability to view art retrospectively, and the interest in how a work is achieved offers transparency to this concept.
The following portrays the ‘process’ of the CMale image on the Crucian Contemporary poster. From a simple line drawing, to exploration of color ways, to the final painting. I arranged the original image into a repeat pattern using tracing paper, played with watercolor and color pencil color variations, reworked it through computer graphics, and had it printed out on polished cotton as dining room curtains for Adrianne and Michael Brooks’ home in St. Croix, USVI. The design was then reworked again on the computer and printed on canvas. The final over painting in acrylic and stitching with metallic thread causes “Integrity” to glisten and dance with the rhythm of the original drawing playing in pink and green through the recesses of the over painted landscape.
The third image “Ah a We Ah One” was over painted on CMale CAD fabric originally designed from the beautiful kitchen tiles at Connie and Jim Arena’s home, St. Croix, USVI. The top half of the picture was designed and printed on Hercules fabric sized to fit the Arena’s refrigerator /freezer doors. It was then sized down and printed on a polished cotton for the kitchen love seat. The bottom portion of this picture shows a detail of “Ah A We Are One” a painting ‘on top of’ the Arena tile composition. This same fabric can be seen on the ZemiZen yoga body warmer..
Deep into the Moment of the Stitch.
Economics allowed the Baroque artist to shift importance from the court and church to the mundane.
Vermeer’s paintings captured segments in time and space of everyday life; a kitchen maid pouring milk, a lady writing a letter, a lady reading a letter, a woman making lace, individuals who have transcended their surroundings, their agenda, their yesterdays, their tomorrows. They are deep in the moment of the stitch. Pulling the needle away from the cloth, pushing the needle into the cloth. Again and again. The rhythm of the movement. The dance between the cloth and the needle worker. Turning the fabric. Holding it up to appraise progress. STAND UP if you have created a stitch in a simple piece of fabric, repairing it, embellishing it, securing it, or resizing it. Surgery performed by the commoner. Next time you are making your mark in your ordinary world, waxing your car, ironing, sweeping, cleaning, stop and observe yourself, Be with your breath. Be with your moment. Capture it in your mental camera. Know that your collective everyday activities offer seeds for another. Allow boredom, depression or negativity to fall away as you continue your dance deep into the moment of your stitch.