Tuesday, February 17, 2009

cathy gatland


julie invited cathy to the self-portrait party. cathy did a couple of self-portraits and wrote a sort of confessional description of her process.

it spoke to julie's self-portrait and echoed a conversation that i've had with lots of people lately: drawing from old photographs or doctoring new portraits to look younger or prettier. in the wonderful book, griffin & sabine; sabine says "it's the artist's prerogative to take liberties with her self-portrait." i agree.

in my opinion though, there's a greater beauty to be found in staying open to what you see in the mirror. there's a lovely little poem about it:

I wish I knew the beauty of leaves falling. To whom, to whom are we beautiful as we go. To whom are we beautiful as we go. - David Ignato
that's almost the point of a self-portrait, isn't it? not to demonstrate one's self but to discover one's self. julie and cathy's portraits are a great example. they opted to draw from current photographs and they struggled to show themselves as they really are. i admire that.

1 comment:

Cathy Gatland said...

Oh, Rama - I hadn't checked back here for a while and was delighted to find your commentary and insights here. I love Griffin & Sabine, but hadn't remembered that quote - love the Ignato one that's new to me. I think some artists - new ones anyway - avoid self-portraits for fear of being thought of as vain or self-obsessed - but they are definitely a form of self-discovery, as well as learning to really respect and honour the changes that occur over time (as much as they may distress one on other occasions). As with drawing portraits of others does too, you can't help but see the humanity and learn to love the subject. Thank you so much!