Self Reflection, Self Portrait Series, 2003
“… step up and back from the detailed brushstrokes that make up your energy portrait, to see the whole picture.” Caroline Myss, Sacred Contracts
My paintings reflect the way I experience the world around me and this series of self-portraits represents an exploration of what I see and how I feel. They were inspired by the recent study of the archetypal energies Myss describes as the ‘architects of life’ that influence our relationships and behaviour patterns. Reflecting on the archetypes directly influencing me manifested in a desire to paint them. Self-portraits seemed the natural subject matter. While striving to capture a physical likeness, I am more interested in portraying an authentic emotional portrait and hope to glimpse insights into my own unconscious landscape; to stand back and see the whole picture in order to understand myself better. I used a mirror to encourage an honest interpretation of my psyche at he time.
Painting in this way revealed a foreign language full of hidden meanings. Pondering my self-portraits was like unravelling a strange and yet, familiar dialect. The practice of painting is teaching me humility, patience and, trust; to risk vulnerability. The repetition involved in painting my mirror image over and over again, allowed me to relax into the process and to begin to see more clearly. The early under-paintings are frenetic, painted boldly in a race to fill the canvas and quell the anxiety the process evoked in me. Gradually, the brush-strokes became calmer, more composed.
The underlying uncertainty in my most of my work is present here too; a frenetic, transient energy that can read as passion or paralysis – a telltale clue to unresolved conflicts. I am interested in working with paint to explore this in-depth. Viewed together, the paintings form a unified portrait that unveils more than the individual portraits.