I finished No. 24 today, and started No. 31 as well. I was struggling with No. 31 because my photo reference for this particular portrait is blurry, and because there are so many dark shadows that it’s hard to pick out the forms in the shadows. No. 31 includes hands again, which I think is important in the scheme of the entire series. Out of 24 portraits so far, only two have hands in them and I don’t want them to feel like anomalies in the series. It’s always a careful balance when working serially: you need the series to feel cohesive and connected overall, but there has to be enough variety and range to make each work distinctive and unique on it’s own. So there’s the risk of monotony and lack of cohesion that you have to confront at all times as you’re working each individual piece.
No. 24 was one of those drawings where the details easily fell into place, I had a strong foundation of etching ink to begin with which was great. I think this drawing has a few unique features to it that I haven’t explored before: the tongue being so visible and also the intentional difference between the eyes, with one being more open than the other.
I think one of the essential parts of being an artist is the ability to look at and reflect upon the past, present, and future. You want to learn from and build upon the past, deal with what’s happening right now with the work, and also look at ahead to what might be next. So today I started thinking at the back of my mind about the figure drawings that I want to do once I complete these self-portraits. This experience with the drawing technique has me rethinking how I might approach the figures than how I originally envisioned, so it’s good that these self-portraits are “warm up” pieces to the figure drawings.