Self-Portrait No 8; My Dilemma

30 Jan

Self-Portrait No 8; My Dilemma

A study in contemplation – my wife says this looks like a grumpy old man – and perhaps it is!

For this I chose a picture in a contemplative – analysing – pose, one that I often adopt when thinking through a diagnostic problem. In making the previous series of self-portraits the base photo went through a several gross distortions, and so I decided to make this more representative. I also wanted to try something from some oil paintings that I have seen and enjoyed. How much could I subtract from the base image but retain both the mood and a portrait that was identifiable?

The initial picture was quite static so movement was introduced in two ways; first by slightly misaligning the three coloured components (spatial imprecision).The eye tries to pull the skewed sections together to form a complete picture (illusory conjunction).  With each glance our visual system completes the picture in a slightly different way and this gives a significant movement. It is only when we look closely and slowly that we can see the misalignment. Secondly the face was warped in the middle to create a curve, because curved and diagonal lines emphasise movement, in this case toward the left.

I was also interested in playing contrasting colours off against each other as I did in a previous picture, using the classic orange/blue combination. I moved from a deep red/orange against a deep cerulean blue and a very light creamy orange against a lighter “dirty” blue like a well used pair of jeans. To my surprise this imparted a depth to the image that wasn’t expected. I have been taught that he shadow of a colour always contains some of the complementary colour, and this is obvious in my image where the blues within the face make the oranges pop out.

13 Responses to “Self-Portrait No 8; My Dilemma”

  1. Green Cathedral of South Africa January 30, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

    Think your wife has it right! But still charming…. 😉

    • Xraypics January 30, 2014 at 7:38 pm #

      Thanks, I’m not sure if that’s a back-handed compliment or not, but I’ve decided to give it the benefit of the doubt. Cheers! Tony

  2. leecleland January 30, 2014 at 7:22 pm #

    Grumpy old man, yes your wife is right, but the complimentary colours carry the muse. Love the bend in the face, and there is a second face in the image! The X-ray between the arm and left side of the face forms (well for me) a pondering face also. Intentional or not I think it is very clever.

    • Xraypics January 30, 2014 at 7:36 pm #

      Lee, you are too kind. My wife is chuckling! I did have some fun doing this though. We are in lockdown the cyclone is upon us. Thank-goodness we still have electricity. Cheers, Tony

  3. burgessart January 30, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

    No dilemma Tony…it works. Keep pushing the envelope. Best wishes, Robert

    • Xraypics January 31, 2014 at 6:58 am #

      Thanks Robert, Interesting that an attempt to copy oil-colour in a digital medium seems to work.- for me a good exercise. Tony

  4. Anita C. Miller January 31, 2014 at 1:25 am #

    I love the distortions and movement. Glad to hear you are OK there. This image is very striking. I don’t get a grumpy feeling at all… more like puzzling over something or seeing something shocking.

    • Xraypics January 31, 2014 at 7:03 am #

      Many thanks, it is just after dawn and we seem to have come through the weather relatively unscathed. We haven;t been out yet. It is like a baby’s bottom out there (windy and wet). What I can see from the window reveals little damage and the news is good – a sense of relief. Tony

  5. Deanna Tennent Masterson January 31, 2014 at 4:22 am #

    Yes, I see the other face, too, & it adds a lot of interest to the left side of the image. I would love to see your face moved more to the right side thus allowing your deep gaze to have more room to look. I don’t see grumpy, I see intensity. would like to hear your actual thoughts is the feeling I get when looking at this ….it’s very successful in engaging the viewer.

    • Xraypics January 31, 2014 at 7:05 am #

      I really appreciate your comment, thanks! Tony

  6. Playamart - Zeebra Designs January 31, 2014 at 4:51 am #

    it’s taken hours to reach your page, and all loaded except the images!!!! i enjoyed the narrative and the other comments!!!
    (and now the comment won’t go through!)

    • Xraypics January 31, 2014 at 7:13 am #

      But it did come through eventually Lisa. Thanks for visiting, but how frustrating. I hope you will be able to see the pictures when your connection is a bit better. I sympathise over not being able to obtain basic items like brooms, matches, and internet connections!! There have been some lovely comments, they emphasise to me how much the face is simply a mask behind which we hide. Cheers. Tony

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