Self Portrait

Self portrait                                                  

I was invited to participate in Mine Own Executioner 2012
an annual exhibition of self portraiture by invited Western Australian artists presented by the Mundaring Art Centre.

It was an intriguing and challenging proposition for me as I am not a figurative artist, and portraiture is very far from my usual way of expression.
Self portrait requires lots of self examination. How do I perceive myself? How do I want to depict myself? How do I find and express the essence of my being? What do I identify with?
And that is how Trees came into the picture. I have huge emotional attachment to trees, and appreciation for their beauty. They have calming effect on me, and I often call forests and trees natures (and my) cathedrals.

Trees symbolize life, growth, reaching down to the ground and up to the sky at the same time. Their branches meander through space as a metaphor for the thinking process, thoughts and ideas growing and taking shape. That is kind of how I perceive myself from the inside. I am more aware of my thoughts, ideas and emotions than of my physical image. And that is how I decided to portray myself: as a shadow, glimpse, spectre, idea of the tree. I hope you see it:

To bring this idea to realization I started with a simple profile drawing of my torso. Then I put a transparent sheet over and drew a tree. Over the top I put another transparent sheet and drew another tree filling empty spots ...and so on until most of the profile was filled in. This is the image of all transparencies together:

and separate:

Next step was to figure out the sizes of the trees I need to make. Trees closer to the source of light have to be progressively smaller than the trees further from the light in order to cast the same size shadow and create the image.
That is where the maths comes in, and saved scrap of paper with some working out:

reducing the sizes of the trees was easy on the photocopier:

Here is the close up of one porcelain tree:

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