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Recently, Alex posted her self portrait and discussed how it did not look like her. I commented and we discussed my adding a self portrait page.  I have taken time to do this today. You will find them here. I will add to this page everytime I use my image to practice my drawing or painting. I am always concerned with a likeness, but you will be able to see that there are many versions of myself on this page. Never do I look the same. Over time, I have not been as concerned with that. These exercises or studies, done from myself, have increasingly caused a chuckle and a better understanding of this wonderful activity of drawing and painting we engage in. I do not know why I did not post these sooner. My family says they do not look like me, but my granddaughter says “Grandma” each time she sees one. Go figure! The above portrait is my favorite of the collection, so far.

Sandrine and Richard have both posted self portraits recently, also.

Blogger friends of mine have taken the time to try to write selfportraits of themselves per my request. They did a wonderful job!!! You can find them here and  here. I had never thought about how one could take words and a mirror image and compose a self portrait in words.  I wondered if it was as difficult and if the mind wandered while writing a description of self.  That critic in all of us seems to come to the surface when we concentrate on ourselves as the subject material. Thank-you Bouzouki and Ichabod for describing yourselves. I SEE YOU!


  1. the epitome of bravery is to paint oneself and share it with the world..the beauty, the wisdom, even a hint of mischief in the smile that almost appears hidden but it’s there…well done!

    • Thank-you, D.S.! I like that you seemed to put to words what I could not about this one. If this is truly me, it is a side of myself I don’t often see, but would like to. It is hard to post images of oneself. Is it difficult to write about oneself, D.S.? I remember having to do that in school and being frustrated about what to say.

      • You’re welcome and you know I actually write more about myself than any other topic but those are the papers that I usually keep hidden. I had a blog once where I shared those papers but that was long ago..who knows maybe I’ll just brush the dust aside and put them up again. Right now I’m working on what I hope will be my first novel and just so you know that is because of you and the comment you made regarding “Wolf Peach Hill” you have been a true inspiration…much more than you know or I could say!

      • I am so excited!!!!!!! Yes. I believe you to be an incredibly talented writer. I wanted the whole book when I read that post “Wolf Peach Hill”. I will be buying it, for sure!!!!!!
        The dusty self portrait pages? 🙂 That’s what I was doing with these.

  2. Hi Leslie!! I like all the versions of you, I don’t know if they “really do look like” you or not surely they do, because for me not only is the way we look in the mirror, or in a photo, it’s also the way we feel and in the case of a piece of art it’s also you by the way you painted it,and what your emotions were while you were “working”. i think it’s a mix and it’ll always be greater than a photograph. GREAT GREAT WORKS!! Hugs, Martín.

    • Thank-you, Martin. You are right on on that comment about the way we feel when we render these. I think it probably affects our color choices and our distortions as much as our skill level does when we try these. If anyone would like to view one of Martin’s self portraits click on the following link: I, for one have always found them interesting. He has done several.

  3. This is a great self portrait!
    There are so many things to look for in a portrait, more than just likeness.
    I like all the movement in the colors of this one and the composition is very interesting.

  4. I broke my brush trying to do a self portrait. lol

    • 🙂 I embrace your comment, Richard. 🙂 I have to somehow chase away my inhibitions when I sit down to do one. If it is any help at all? The first one has GOT to be the HARDEST!

  5. HELLO Leslie. I feel like you’re ready to converse at any moment while looking at this portrait. Wonderful.

    • Eva, THANK-YOU! Your comment has just made my day! Do you know how wonderful that feels to have someone relate portrait as though it could speak at any moment? I am flattered.

  6. What a wonderful idea. You can tell they are all you but they are all subtle variations. I wish I could name a favorite but it was too hard to decide! Can’t wait to watch for new additions.

    • The new additions will probably be infrequent but I’ll try to step it up a little as Sandrine has piqued my interest in improving. Have you ever tried to do an abstract impression of yourself by including your favorite colors, brushstrokes and mixed media, Kathleen? I’ll bet you would be able to come up with an interesting rendition of yourself. Thank-you for your comment! 🙂

        • artimagica
        • Posted July 21, 2010 at 5:34 pm
        • Permalink

        Interesting idea – watch for it!!

      • 🙂 O’kay!!

  7. You are really an excellent watercolorist… I’m very impressed!
    : )))

    • Thank-you Jimmyboi2!! I feel honored that you visited. Your post on your day with Carol was so interesting.
      I am going to return and read about your entire trip north as I saw there were more posts about your travels. 🙂

      • Hiya, and thanks again. Yes… I felt compelled to record the impressions of every inch of my journey. Your comments and appreciation mean so much to me !

  8. cool post.
    And thankyou for the plug.
    It’s very kind of you to do that

    • Thank-you, Richard. You are welcome for the “plug”. You deserve it with all the energy and effort you put into your explorations in art.

  9. This is a beautiful painting, Leslie! The colors are delicious!!

    I did a self portrait in lino cut block printing once for a self portrait exchange. It was a weird experience! I’ll have to find it and share it with you. When I try to paint myself, it’s like doing a portrait of my Mother!! Aaack! What’s up with that? When my brother-in-law (a professional artist) did a portrait of me, I immediately saw my Dad’s eyes. He never met my Dad, so it was especially weird.

    You have given me so much encouragement that I may have to take a page from this book and try it, just for the learning experience.

    Oh, also… I have a book that has self portrait masks. You need to do this with a friend, because they actually put vaseline on your face and lay the paper mache on you. When the mask comes off, you do a self portrait on it. I wanted to do that, but could not find any willing partners. I may have to reopen that book. To me, it sounds like so much fun!! It would bring out the abstract in me, I think. *giggle* 😀

    • I can hardly wait to see the lino-cut! That would be so hard to do!..I imagine the image is TOTALLY interesting! I think we do channel things about our family when we stare at ourselves for hours and try to record what we see. Often, what we end up with is a delicious gathering of everything we see and think. More than anything else, I think a journey into self is something we all need to do. Somehow “life” and “upbringing” ask us to reach outside ourselves so we have difficulty coming home and just accepting ourselves as we are. PHEW! That’s heavy. Love the mask idea. Sounds deliciously messy. Wouldn’t it be kind of cool if we all added a self portrait page?

  10. Very cool! The painting strokes look the same but the palette seems quite different. This is a great painting. I have only done one self portrait and that was years ago. The Indianapolis Museum of Art did an exhibit recently of Rembrandt self-portraits. (We have his first life size self-portrait done at age 23.) He did over 70 self-portraits and they were one of his major means to practice and acquire skill.

    • Thank-you, Linda! I find self portraiture so interesting and love it when I see portraits by other artists whether they are famous in time or in blogland. 70 self portraits is a wonderful collection and I agree with Rembrandt, totally, that it is a great way to hone your skills. The model is also FREE! If you still have your self portrait, take a picture of it and start a self portrait page! We can all go on this journey together. I would love to see everyone’s take on themselves.

  11. Great painting love the way you mix the colors especially for the shades 🙂 I love the skin color 🙂

    • Thank-you, Alonso. I believe I actually used yellow ochre light and permanent rose and allowed them to mix on the paper for the pinkish tones. Then burnt sienna and some raw sienna watered down for the brownish red tones. The blue was prussian blue watered down. There are other colors I pulled into this but can’t tell as I didn’t write them down. Try some reds with yellows for caucasian skin tones. I usually add burnt umber and other colors for darker skin. For more of a yellow, I find increasing yellow ochre works. It is all experimenting on another sheet of paper. You know, you can do people in any color you want. 🙂 They still look like people!

  12. This is a beautiful self-portrait, Leslie! I am loving the expression, and shadows are to die for! Also, thank you for the mention and the link. There was another interesting discussion on my self-portrait post: my friend Sam and I talked about self as a model, introspection and expression. My philosopher husband could have a field day with it :D, we on the other hand were more concerned with finding affordable models. Although the notion of looking into the Self is always obviously present in self-portrait genre.

    • Thank-you, Alex. I read yours and Sam’s discussion. I am a sucker for reading comments because I learn from them, always. Practicing from mirror images is a great way to save money. Like I said, above, I usually end up chuckling when I paint myself. So, it is fun, too.

  13. Hi Leslie…since I don’t really know what you look like, I can just react to your painting which I think is a delightful one. For me, any portrait to be successful has to convey something about the personality of the sitter…which may or may not have something to do with a likeness! I enjoy the look of concentration, hand gesture, and slight suggestion of a smile…all of which imply a certain confidence and intelligence.

    • Thank-you, Al. 🙂 This is such a cool point. I feel like there is always a gaze with the ones I do in the mirror. I have tried to work with that but need to grow more in my skills. I think I liked this particular self portrait because I saw something in it I’d like to be. Maybe it is that confidence you speak of, so thank-you for this input.

  14. I avoid the self portrait paintings at all cost, with a mug like mine, who wants to see it in a painting. But this one of yours is gorgeous, it captures that “Leslies always thinking” look. Nice!

    • 🙂 Big Smile ten times! I envision you painting yourself in gladiator physique and fighting a foe! I see you painting yourself sitting on a bank of a river in southern Indiana, fishing. I know your “mug” is not ugly. Thank-you for the comment, Ryan. I think I am going to continue to do these every so often. There is a lot to be gained from practicing the mirror image ones.

  15. I could have sworn I commented on these portraits Leslie, it mustn’t have registered. I said I liked the 2007 ones a lot. However they’re all animated and lively (and I still see the fluidity of an Egon Sheile going on in these)…and I’ve still not wrote about him:)

    • 🙂 I’m smiling, Lynda. You gave me a very nice comment on the page “Self Portraits” and I posted it and responded. You included the link to the book of self portraits by artists which I have and sit and look through all the time.
      Schiele. I agree there is something about some of my work that makes me think of him once in awhile. I think it is when I use line and because I use the continuous line a lot. That is a wonderful comment and I thank you.

  16. wonderful…i think this one is my favorite of what i see…not based on knowing your face but on a sense of depth conveyed. such talent…

    • Thank-you, JRuth. There is something different about this one. I love it that you say depth. I wondered if the others looked more like someone sitting and staring at their face in a mirror or getting their drivers license picture taken and this one, maybe, looked a little more like someone listening to another person?

  17. this is such a cool record. I like the line drawings and I agree that likeness is less of an issue – by looking at all your work I get a perspective on who you are that would definitely not come from seeing a whole lot of photos – nice work.

    • Thank-you, Stephen. Line drawings are so much fun and I don’t do enough of that. It is fun to look back at these self portraits. I agree about the photos. They are different.

  18. I haven’t seen too many self-portraits in watercolors. Think you did an outstanding job. Thanks

    • Thank-you, Adam. Many artists are much more creative than I.I think I do them to just see “if I can”. Others get really creative with their endeavors and there are some really interesting ones out there!

  19. Nice work on the portrait Leslie,I guess now you will have a few of yourself to put as your personel reference. Actually for me looking exactly the same does not really mean too much but what important is it represent the essence of the person in an art form and best of all created by yourself.

    • You are so correct about the representation of self. ….and it changes! I see different things everytime I sit down to do one of these. They are not easy because you have to continually look up and down. The ones with hands are especially challenging, to keep that hand in the position I want it. I also usually have set up a light source so the shadows don’t change. I forgot about doing that. The one I did last year? Looks like I’m some old angry witch. Oh well, I suppose the perfect one will come along, someday, Francis, and I won’t even know it. I wonder what it will be like to paint white hair? 🙂 Thank-you for your thoughtful comment!

  20. Hi Leslie;

    I don’t know how you did that.

    I like your picture, there is something about your face which speaks of thoughtfulness, determination and kindness.

    Sometimes it is easier to focus on another subject than self. In order to come across the way you have, there is a humility in your being, otherwise the image would not have appeared alive.

    • Hi Ichabod! I was just heading over to see if you had written more, today, and saw you had stopped over. Thank-you for this comment. It is definitely easier to focus on something other than an image of self. I think self portraiture is one of my largest challenges. You flatter me by what you see. Thank-you. Comments, like these keep me trying.

  21. Hi Leslie;

    You are going to shoot me. I borrowed you and did a post, four images of self.

    I liked what you did, and decided to highlight four self portraits, yours included.

    Time, technique and how the artist viewed him or herself.

    I thought it would be an interesting journey for the reader. 🙂

    • You know what, Ichabod. I am not a “pistol-toting Gramma” 🙂 so I seriously doubt I will shoot you. Your writing is interesting. Read your funny post on your reading the newspaper. I just go to Ichabod’s blog of a morning, instead. More interesting and I don’t end up in other peoples’ cars that way.
      My art is fair game for your blog. Hope others visit.

      • Hi Leslie;

        I knew you wouldn’t shoot me as you informed me a while ago it would be OK. 🙂

        Now I am going to tell you what sets your self portrait apart, and seeing it next to the others it finally came to me without reducing this to a contest, because it is not.

        The techniques are different. On your self portrait the use of light and shadows give the image much more depth than those of the others.

        You also bring out the features of your face.

        The eyes are important, as we tend to focus on what we see there.

        I found this an interesting exercise beyond just enjoying the image for what it represents, as two of the artists I used are long dead, so I am curious whether the technique used today is more cognizant of three dimensions than years ago.

        Art also has a process of evolution and I think the last fifty years has demonstrated major change.

        It is only my opinion.

      • First of all. I have to thank you for doing that post. I never thought of taking my image and placing it near those great artists. We artists are humbled by such great others and spend hours trying to figure out why we like them so much because they touch a part and parcel of ourselves. I have learned something by your doing so. Our mediums are different, in answer to your question. I would imagine that the pigments produced, today, have a better quality to them. My painting has not, as yet, gone through much aging. These other artists’ works have probably been aged and probably curated over time. It would be wonderful to have seen their works right after they rendered them. I learned that peoples’ nature is to see eyes first (a show I viewed on PBS). For awhile I did these grotesque realistic eyes on a soft face, or made them round orbs filled with all sorts of garish colors. It was suggested to me, by a very astute teacher, that eyes were a part of the whole and, to render them properly, one needed to only draw or paint what one sees. I happen to have very dark eyes and if I am relaxed, the lids droop almost halfway. They are large and I think I exagerrated them in this portrait, both the darkness and the size. I am flattered that you see more of a roundness and a depth to my portrait. I won’t forget this comment to my work. It will probably pull me from the depths the next time I get frustrated. Thank-you, Ichabod.

  22. Hi Leslie;

    Just so you know, bouzouki and I both attempted to “write” our self portraits.

    bouzouki’s is fantastic.

    shows you we at least attempt to rise to the “challenge” as it were and is more difficult than a person may guess. Like painting your self portrait.

    “It was suggested to me, by a very astute teacher, that eyes were a part of the whole and, to render them properly, one needed to only draw or paint what one sees.”

    In following your teacher’s advice, the eyes in your self portrait become alive and not a caricature.

    I think that is the difference between a true artist and someone who just draws or paints, which can be learned, but the true artist or musician or healer have the “gift” or talent within them.

    That is what makes us all unique. For some of us, we never discover where our true talent lies, and for others, they are driven from an early age, no doubt in their being what their gift is.

  23. Okay, Leslie, you had to know this was coming–but, after viewing the video of women in art on Echostain’s blog and then the video of the self portraits–well, I am so thrilled that your self portrait is so ALIVE–with a touch of smile and bright eyes and nothing grim about your expression at all. Oh yeah!

    • Guess what i have been doing all night? I have been working on wolf paws(remember your poem?)…..then got online and found a wonderful comment from you. You have just made my day! Thank-you for this, Eva.

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. By Changing Faces « Echostains Blog on 28 Jul 2010 at 5:02 pm

    […] Inspired by Lesliepaints (and who wouldn’t be), I thought it might be fun to look at some self portraits of artists.  I shall start a new category for this in the future and look at the artists individually.   In the meanwhile, lets get a taste of the ever changing face of the artist by watching this short video.  See how many famous artists you can spot correctly in this wonderful video:) […]

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