The Art of Fran Beallor    -    Self-Portraits

 

Self-Portraits

In 2010 I drew a self-portrait every day for a year for the third time. When I did it in 1980, I thought of it as a visual diary. I grabbed the nearest blank notebook and began to draw my 20-something self in the mirror every day. Some of the portraits were literal, some very expressive, and others fantastic (like Self Portrait as Medusa).

In 2000, I came upon that old notebook and decided to do a daily self-portrait again. It was challenging to look at my older self in the mirror each day, but in the end, I found my face more complex and interesting twenty years later. I used various drawing media as well as watercolor, collage and photography. And this time, I did not constrain myself to a notebook. I finished 366 self-portraits (2000 was a leap year) ranging from one inch square to 20” x 30”.

I chose to do it again in 2010, wondering how I would see myself this time, and what it would be like to repeat this exercise. Instead of doing many sizes and media, I chose to do only drawings, mostly in pencil and colored pencil and all the same size: 20mm square. And instead of looking in the mirror each day, I often found it quite liberating to use my digital camera, not an option in 1980 or 2000. This allowed me to capture myself from many unusual angles - upside down, from above or below - without having to set up complicated arrangements of mirrors. I could easily draw myself with my eyes closed.

I was inspired to create a theme for each day of the week: Sunday and Monday I drew myself within the context of the sun and the moon. Tuesday I explored thoughts, Wednesdays I did line drawings and on Thursdays I created various series. Fridays I investigated feelings and each Saturday, I draw just one eye. Working within these constraints was intriguing, stimulating what felt like infinite possibilities, enabling me to look into myself in a deeper way. I learned the vocabulary of my own features and forms, and through it, a broader experience of being human.

Click on the image below to see more drawings in the series.

Fran

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