I decided to create a Selfie. Unlike the digital ones that take a second to capture and can be embellished through the various phone applications, or discarded if we don’t like it, this selfie took me six hours to paint and it involved a series of decisions not easily erased or edited on a paint program. This selfie was intended to capture not what I think I look on the outside, but who I know I am, using mixed media on a canvas.
Art’s rich history of self-portraiture may have begun back in the 1500’s with Italian Mannerist painter Parmigianino, who in 1523 painted his image as it appeared in a barber’s convex glass, instead of a straightforward self-portrait. His Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror poignantly conveys an artist’s self-examination and exploration process as channeled through art. In this “Selfie”, Parmigianino also manages to vividly portray reality as something which is shifting, distorted and unruly, further implying that there is a divide between the material and the spiritual, the viewer and the artist.
In the 1600’s Rembrandt created at least 90 self-portraits over 40 years, presumably also as a tool of self-examination. In 1948 Jacob Rosenberg wrote of the unsparing observation which these portraits reflect, depicting a gradual change from outward description and characterization to the most penetrating self-analysis and self-contemplation. “Rembrandt seems to have felt that he had to know himself if he wished to penetrate the problem of man’s inner life” he wrote.
In 2015, I Lidia Kenig Scher, sat in deep contemplation and decided to look inwardly to penetrate my inner life. I saw that reality is indeed constantly shifting, distorted and unruly, and that the more I immerse myself in the unsparing and penetrating observation of the I AMness that I AM, I naturally listen to my heart, my connection to Source and channel it through my artworks.
Confirming that I am a spiritual being having a human experience I know that who I am in the material plane must always reflect who I AM spiritually in order to create art that deeply and constantly transforms me and the viewer with every brush mark, color, line and texture.
Like Parmigianino, this is no straightforward self-portrait. While there is no apparent depth to the face, the multi-layers indicate that my reality is constantly shifting depending on the roles I choose to play. The basic inner fabric is however, consistent yet malleable; it is peaceful, graceful and in full acceptance of what is, here and now.
There is also a joyous quality to the bright eyes and the broad smile. The smeared red lipstick conveys that at times I can frown, but I can easily transform the pain into jewels of laughter and growth. See the little fireflies moving to and fro? They tell of my deep desire to look at life with the innocence of a child and delighted that one lovingly landed on my nose!
Once again I observe that I AM one who conquered many demons, real and imagined and painted them all into a very colorful life. Thus I offer what I create, while deeply listening to my heart to you my viewers to learn and to grow. Click on Selfie to delight yourself and purchase the original.
Have a great week!