The Story Behind My Blurry Expressive Self Portrait Painting

P1110843

This oil painting was created during my last year of college for my Expressive Drawing class. It was a Self Portrait assignment, but we couldn’t draw our face, it had to be expressive. I was pretty stumped and not really inspired by anything specific.

At the time, I loved the Scuola Metafisica art movement, specifically the work of Giorgio de Chirico. His paintings had an unsettling and disquieting feeling that I really liked. And I was drawn to the weird scenes he painted that usually featured Roman statues, long shadows, mannequins, trains, and illogical perspectives. So, I decided to be inspired by that style in my painting.

P1110839

Mario and the Pizza

I love video games, especially the Mario games. I’ve been playing them forever and, like Mario, I love Italian food, my favorite being pizza. That’s why he’s standing there eye ballin’ that supreme pizza. the-persistence-of-memorySince the Metafisica movement was inspired by Surrealism, I made sure to add surrealist elements. I’m sure you’re familiar with Dali’s painting, The Persistence of Time. I painted my pizza like Dali painted those melting clocks.

The Mad Hatter Hat

The Mad Hatter hat was added because artists are a little mad. It’s hard to be an artist, and it just drives me crazy sometimes. Plus, I like Alice in Wonderland and was always inspired by Disney. I also love a good imaginative story. She goes on this crazy trip following that rabbit down the hole and I have such a strong imagination and love the crazy places life takes me. So, I thought the hat was able to represent all of those things.

Martini Glass and Fish

The martini glass was added because my senior year in high school, I joined this forum called the-spot.net, which was created by a guy named Neo, and he and a group of people all were members of this forum and got together regularly to play video games together. (A Lan Party.)

I made a username that incorporated the word martini and I still use the username today, and a lot of people came to identify me by it. martini4  I’m not a drinker, but I liked my avatar and the name. So, that’s why I added that. The fish are both a shoutout to the fish in Mario games and Surrealism because it’s strange to see creepy fish swimming in a drinking glass

Black and White Tiles and Long Shadows

De Chirico 2You can see in the de Chirico painting that it has a checkered floor. I always liked those floors and I like black and white, both visually and conceptually. I think there’s a lot of gray area in life, but I also see the extremes in life.

And you can see the long shadows created by the tall art tools I placed in the scene. De Chirico used long shadows and tall pillars, which you can see in the paintings above.

P1110841

Art Tools

I like painting, but I’m not much of a painter. I’ve created a few paintings both in acrylic and oil, but I was never actually trained in it. My favorite art tools are colored pencils and markers. Mainly Prismacolor. So, that’s why I added a colored pencil, a marker, and a paintbrush.

Music Staff

I love music so much and I have a very diverse taste. I like it all. I also played clarinet in school. Since music is such a big part of my life, I had to include it. I also wanted to make the music staff look a little like the smoke that comes from a train. I didn’t actually add a train, but de Chirico often did.

Balloon Clock and The Background

I can’t remember why I added the balloon clock. Maybe I thought time was just floating away??? I dunno. Looks like the time is 2:45. I think maybe that’s the time my art class was. And I think It’s also supposed to be the sun.

The background represents the Mojave Desert in Southern California where I grew up. I’m a proud Texan, but deep down, there will always be apart of me that is a California girl. I loved the mountains and the Joshua trees and my childhood was so happy and sunny and it’s a big part of who I am.

P1110843

The Tunnel

I added the “Tunnel” on the left to mimic the tunnel colonnades that you see in so many de Chirico paintings. I was so close to graduation and I was so burned out and just ready to be done with college already. Also, remember de Chirico often painted trains. So, it was supposed to represent “The Light at the End of the Tunnel.”

The letters SFA are the name of my university and purple and white are the school colors. And inside is a painting of trees, “The Pineywoods,” which is where Nacogdoches and SFA are located.

P1110840

The Finger

It’s hard to see but hanging above SFA is a rearview mirror air freshener of a finger flipping you off. I drove a 1966 Mustang and I had that finger hanging from the mirror for so many years. I loved “flipping people off” without actually flipping them off. And a lot of people associated it with me. Plus, I was flipping off college because I was so ready to be done.

The Sword

I actually don’t remember my exact reason for adding the sword. I collect weapons. I have a whole bunch of cool knives and weapons that are hidden and don’t actually look like weapons. So, I’m guessing the cool sword with jewels is meant to represent my love of weapons. I also didn’t put a shadow coming from the sword, which I did on purpose to give off the feeling that there’s something not right about it.

P1110845

The Mysterious Blurred Paint

Now, you might be wondering why the paint has been smeared all over the canvass. It’s actually quite a story for me and I hope you stick through ’till the end and read the whole story.

My Mustang was breaking down a lot so my dad got me this ugly brown Lincoln Town car as a backup. It was so raggedy! I wont even list all the problems it had, but it did at least get me where I needed to go. The door panel on the passenger side was broken and made it really hard to open. And the doors wouldn’t lock.

Well, I was exhausted and stressed out. I had a week or two left before I graduated and I was finishing up final projects for my classes. One rushed morning, I left my laptop on the floorboard in the front seat. The windows were tinted but I guess you could still see inside if you pressed your face against the window.

I have no idea who would look at that ugly car and think, “Hey, there’s gotta be something in there I want.” But somebody did.

I had a class, and when it was over I walked back to my car and all I noticed was my painting in the front seat. It was done in oil and it was still wet and it was due that day. Then I noticed that my passenger door wasn’t all the way closed. I was so upset about my painting that was due in an hour that I didn’t even realize my laptop was missing.

I contacted campus police to tell them someone broke in but I ended up, stupidly, telling them nothing was stolen.

Later That Night

That night as I was getting ready to work on a project for another class, it hit me. MY LAPTOP! It was in my car and it was stolen! I couldn’t believe it. My whole life was on that thing. Now, that laptop was just as raggedy as that car. I had it since Freshman year. And it had so many problems. One problem was it didn’t like to turn on when I pressed the power button. I had to balance it on my knee and push the button three times, then the 4th time I had to balance it on a stack of books and sneak out of the room, then hopefully when I came back it was turned on.

Ok, I don’t know if I had to do that, but it seemed to work. That laptop got on my nerves but I think it’s quirkiness is what saved me. I went to class and explained everything to my professors. They all understood but unfortunately, I wasn’t going to get a grade for the assignments still due. I moped around for a day until . . .

The Phone Call

The next day I got a call from some church on campus. It was a church that was right down the road from the parking lot my car was broken into. They were looking for me so that they could return my laptop to me. They said they found it in the backyard of their church. The bag was open and some papers were strewn about but the laptop was in there. They managed to turn it on and find my contact information. I wondered if God let them in on the trick on how to turn it on.

I ran up there and got my laptop back. I couldn’t believe it. I guess the thief tried to turn it on, but didn’t know the trick, and decided it was a piece of crap and just dropped it. My painting was smeared and I didn’t even get any feedback in class from the other students and I was feeling down about all that. But at least I got my laptop back and I was able to tell everyone the miraculous story the next day. Plus, I was able to turn in my assignments.

The Moral of the Story

Don’t leave your laptop in your car where people can see it! Just kidding, I don’t think there’s a moral of the story. I just think it’s pretty cool that I got my laptop back and I think the smeared paint adds character to the painting. I think it maybe even makes the painting better.

And it also adds to the self portrait. Even when something bad happens in my life, God always makes it turn out for the better for me. I learn something. Or a I grow. Or it ended up being exactly the way it needed to be.

If you read through to the end, thanks for reading the whole story.

 

 

Some Pics Around Town

These are just a few pics I took around town and at the park. Pictures 1, 2, and 4 are the main ones I want to share, but I went ahead and added the others too.

P1110807

I saw this on the way to the park. I like stuff like this that looks kinda junky or cluttered. I wasn’t planning to stop but then I noticed the No Mattresses sign next to the mattresses, so I decided to pull over and snap a few pictures. I didn’t even notice the security camera when I was there.

P1110810

Here it is again using the cross process filter and at a slightly different angle.

P1110479

I took this at Pecan Park. This bridge just got added a few years ago and I always want to get a good picture of it, but I never do.

P1110480

I liked the colors and the shadow though so I went ahead and snapped a few pics.

P1110488

I was trying to get an interesting shadow picture and I used cross process again.

P1110484

There’s another using the Retro filter.

Walking Around Downtown Nacogdoches-Color Photos

In my last post I shared the black and white photos from my walk around Downtown Nacogdoches, and in this post I’ll be sharing the color photos I took.

Before I Get Started with the Photos – A lil’ Artist Statement:

Lately, I’ve really enjoyed playing around with my in camera filters. The cross process, the toy camera, the low quality and high quality.

I’m also trying to just focus on things like shadow and light, sometimes overexposing and underexposing. Sometimes I’m focusing on the colors and the angles. I also shoot vertical just with the intention of shooting vertical instead of horizontal.

I’m just enjoying breaking rules and trying to capture something interesting. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a perfectly exposed or perfectly composed, I just want to grab something cool and hopefully different.

P1110676

I’ll start off with the WoW building. If you read my last post, you got to see this bad boy in black and white. Nacogdoches has some great architecture. It’s one of the biggest tourist draws and very much worth it. I was standing further away and again, you can see the little black spots on my lens. It’s actually not too bad of a photo. I like that tree over on the right, and that fence at the bottom is apart of the Best Water Store. I purposely included both in the frame.

P1110655

Here’s the Fredonia Hotel, which I shot from a different angle in the b&w post. I purposely included the power lines at those angles, and the trees at the top and bottom. I shot it with the cross process filter. And my dog was pulling and yelling at the dog across the street who was pulling his human and yelling back at my dog. I’ve gotten pretty good at shooting while she’s doing that. I like how it turned out.

P1110602

Just shooting up at weird angles, vertical, including sky and shooting in cross process again. Not my most interesting, but I still wanted to include it because I like it.

P1110556

I like this one a lot. I just love the pastel colors and I thought it worked well in vertical orientation. It’s just a banal photo with some pretty colors and textures. The window was actually busted and you could easily crawl inside the abandoned, gutted, historical building. I didn’t though.

I included this one in the b&w post. I took different angles for these so that I could include the white building, the green overgrown plants, the blue sky, and the red building. I liked how all the colors looked together.

I didn’t care for these two photos but I included them so that you could see the colorful setting. Usually this place is so packed with people, that I can’t just go shoot in peace. People are always questioning me and taking me out of the photographic process. So, thanks to the lockdown, I grabbed my chance. I liked the pretty blue on the right, at some yoga studio, but the photo wasn’t very interesting. I just love the blue.

And here we have a green door. I took it both in vertical and horizontal. (Portrait and landscape.) I liked the lamp because it was made from an old bucket. And I thought it was casting a good shadow on that bold green. I just love how old and worn everything looks too.

And here we have a bright red wall and door. Another banal subject, just a bench with some flowers. I really liked that big ole’ shadow that I put smack dab in the middle of the image. One of those rules I was breaking, where you really shouldn’t put something in the middle like that. You need to obey the rule of thirds and all that. But, I like it.

P1110617

I found this fancy gold doorknob on the back door of a hair salon. I thought it looked neat shining in the light, and I used a high quality filter. I don’t use this filter a lot but I think it works well for this one. Not one of my favorite photos, but I still like it. I struggled to get an angle I was really happy with.

Well, that’s all the color photos I want to include from that day. I hope you enjoyed them and I think for my next post I’ll share some more pictures I took around Nacogdoches.