Reflection on my portrait work

I have chosen the subject: Using tone and line in a series of portraits and self-portraits with Conte sticks (I may change to some other medium like colour pencils or colourful drawing inks etc.), inspired by the artist Frida Kahlo.

For my final assignment, I would like to experience using some colourful medium, as I haven’t really used a lot of colourful pigments in this course. Through the process, I didn’t really consider exploring the idea of experimental styles outside of the construction.

Drawing a portrait is the most difficult for me because I still don’t know what effect I will be brought out at the end. Because the portrait includes the construction, perspective, emotional expression and character etc. So in this assignment, my aims are put colours on, find out the expression of the facial features.

For the drawing technology, I need to put attention on:

  • Line and mark-making
  • Tone
  • Colour
  • Light/middle/dark tone
  • Chiaroscuro

Facial Features & Expressions:

  • Draw the features with outlines of construction correctly
  • Practice eyes and put much attention on them because this is the area that conveys much of the emotion.
  • Gesture
  • Atmosphere
  • Mood

I know that the concept of “portrait” and “self-portrait” are flexible things and you can experiment with many methods like I have done in the research “what a self-portrait can be?” and gave examples of what artists have done.

How to express the portrait with the way to show more depth is the aim I am going to attempt for this assignment.

  • The features that are personal and distinctive. (Not everyone has same eyes, nose, mouth and ears also the same shape of the face.)
  • The expressions and the thoughts. (The difference persons have separate thoughts and they won’t be the same.)

In Kahlo’s works, she used a few of the elements with the metaphorically way to imply her feeling and thoughts. For example, she uses a few times of monkeys around her face and these monkeys like the situation in her life. There are other examples, Kahlo’s work used some else elements:

  • The Two Fridas (painted in 1939) is a double self-portrait which is included two figures of this artist. Kahlo is holding two items which are a forceps and a portrait. Also, she has drawn vessel and hearts outside of the bodies.
  • Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird (painted in 1940). Kahlo used the elements are a thorn necklace, a small black hummingbird( like a pendant), a monkey sits behind her right shoulder(tugging at the thorn necklace, causing Kahlo to bleed), two dragonflies float in mid-air and A black panther over her left shoulder.
  • The Wounded Deer (painted 1946), Kahlo superimposed her face onto a deer which was fatally wounded by a bunch of arrows.

Is The Wounded Deer is a self-portrait? I would say so. As Kahlo has some more works which used the method for her style of symbolism. From her works, she was not painting attempting to conjure a real scene but she did arrange symbolic elements to communicate a feeling or idea.

So what can I do for my assignment five which is about the portraits and self-portraits? What can I change from my real scene? What elements can I add to my works?




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