By Cher Wang
For this art project we were asked to use either oil or acrylic paint to draw a portrait of someone that has meaning to us and convey one or more of the guiding questions. I decided to paint myself because I know my own life story and emotions the best, therefore there are lots of things that I can express through my brush strokes. The medias I used were oil paint and acrylic paint because I like the consistency of both types of paint but for different parts of the painting. I like the usage of oil paint for painting people because it blends easily and I like the usage of acrylic paint for the background because it dries easily.
The title of my painting “K.” relates to the conflict I have with social media, our society and it connects with my emotions. “K.” stands for “okay” and it’s something people write when texting over social media. Usually when people say “K” they don’t mean that they are okay but there just saying it for the sake of it. In my painting I want to make a broader statement about people’s judgement and social media versus reality.
The questions I decided to address were “How can we represent the intangible in portraits?” and “How can a portrait make a broader social statement?” For my painting I decided to use the colors blue, pink, purple and green to create a slightly sad and calm mood. The colors purple and blue are next to each other on the color wheel so they blend very well together. Pink and green are complementary colors so they contrast each other and that emphasized the highlights and contours in the painting.
Along with the sad and calm mood of the painting, I tried to express my intangible life stories in this portrait. I would say that I’m always seen as a happy and bubbly person on the outside but when I’m by myself I’m not always like that. There has been hardship I’ve been through and even though I always seem happy, there are times when I’m experiencing other emotions. I wanted people to be able to experience the things I have experienced in my life when looking at my portrait. The reason I decided to paint myself is because I think I know myself and my own emotions the best and I would be able to portray that through my brush strokes well. I feel like there are people who have a certain image of me but in reality these images are not true. There are only a few people in the world who really know me as a person. I think that people often misjudge me through seeing my social media or in real life, without really knowing me as a person. These judgements and images don’t harm me but they’ve definitely made me build a wall around myself and sometimes they make me think that I have to act a certain way to be accepted by the society. In my portrait, I wanted to express what I’m really like when my wall is down and the intangible parts of my life and me as a person.
The broader social statement I wanted to express also has to do with social media and judgement. What people are seen like on social media and the way people act in front of certain people are not always what these people are really like. Social media often creates unrealistic images about everyone and makes people believe certain things about other. It’s not fair how people judge others before really knowing how these people are. In my painting I wanted to express that sometimes I feel like an object being constantly watched and commented on for everything that I do or say. The social statements I made in this painting has to do with how our society functions and our standards.
This painting was inspired by Jen Mann. I really like the way she uses oil paints and so I wanted to try out her color themes in my work. I used more colors than Mann usually uses in her paintings which made it more challenging for me. It was definitely really hard blending the colors together and making sure the painting isn’t messy.
The actual painting ended up being slightly different than I originally imagined. There are more variety of colors in my painting but overall it was pretty similar. While painting my portrait, sometimes it was hard to blend the colors but then I eventually learnt new painting techniques.
In order to blend the colors well, what I did was get a dry brush and dab the colors together with that brush That was a new painting technique I used. Throughout the entire process I think I grew as an artist because I learnt how to make the colors look more blended together and for the painting to look more three dimensional. I think I spent a lot of time of this portrait and used my class time well. I tried making it the best I could.
For this portrait, I observed clearly at my painting and tried my best to make it the best it could be. I tried making the painting as similar to the photo as I could and I did that by observing closely at both the photo and my canvas.
I also reflected on my work, I would always take progress photos so that I could look at my paintings and see what I needed to do better.
For this portrait I also developed craft. At the beginning of the unit, we tested different types of media such as oil and acrylic, so that we’d know which one we liked better.