Self-Portrait No. 7, version 2

Self-Portrait No. 7, version 2

(above) version 2

Self-Portrait No. 7

(above) version 1

With final crits last week and this week I’ve been away from these portraits for a for a little while. Today was really productive, I finished version 2 of No. 7 in the morning, and in the afternoon I had another photo session with Marianna along with some life drawing as well. I’ve done multiple photo sessions now, and it’s always amazing to me that she’s able to come up with new content no matter how many times we do a session.  With eight more portraits to complete, this may well be the last round of photography that I need to do.

It’s really interesting to do a side-by-side comparison between the two versions of No. 7:, I think overall the gesture of version 2 is better in that the facial expression seems more extreme.  Looking at version 1, it feels quite reserved by comparison. Version 2 also seems overdone, I was less selective at the time about where I put the details, so I ended up putting them everywhere making for a less efficient drawing.  The one part of version 1 that I do like better is the mouth; somehow the distortion of the mouth is a little more extreme and therefore more effective.

Self-Portrait No. 7, version 2 (detail)
(above) detail, version 2

4 thoughts on “Self-Portrait No. 7, version 2

  1. Sort of like Jenny Saville only in black and white. Alsio reminds a me a bit of chuck close.

    Your skills are exceptional, but you seem (and please do note the tentative qualification *seem*) to subscribe to the maxim that the absense -or even the inverse- of flattery in portraiture is more or less synonymous with artistic integrity.

    Some measure of frankness is a necessary but not suffiicent condition for aesthetic merit, nor is the truth invariably, *ipso facto* ugly.
    I haven’t yet seen enough of your work to know if you actually need to be told this, but if you do you shouldn’t.

    In any event, despite my pompous admonitions I wouldn’t be following this blog if I weren’t impressed.


    1. I see no resemblance to Saville’s work here, unless you’re talking about the superficial fact they they both employ portraiture. Chuck Close? Portraiture again… what are the other common threads?

      As for your critique of the veristic approach in this series, I have two comments:

      First, it doesn’t take a lot of research (i.e. look up at the sidebar) to find more of Clara Lieu’s artwork before making blanket statements about whether someone equates ugliness with integrity. If that’s all you see in her work, then I wonder if anything this side of Rococo meets your standards.

      Second, the stated goal of this work is to represent the artist’s personal experience with depression, and I struggle to imagine how pretty portraits could fit the chosen theme.

      Maybe writing the qualification, “pompous admonition,” should have prompted you to think twice about your comments.

  2. Were these done in charcoal (or perhaps conte)?

    For some reason I get the impression they’re very large (assuming they’re charcoal).

    On the other hand, oddly enough, something about the hatching and line quality makes it look as though they’re etchings.

    Very well done either way. Aside from your obvious general virtuosity, you have quite an acute sense for calculated, hyper-real distortion.

    Oh yeah, I mangled the second sentence of my first post. It should of course read : “Also reminds me a bit of Chuck Close.”

    (The casual elision of the subject was intentional.)

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