Day 1: 30 Days of Self Portraits

Updated: Jan 30

Aquarius new moon, and a time of new beginnings!








Image: Self Portrait using watercolor pencil, cakes, and paper


I'm also adding to this a #chironinaries #chironreturn challenge for those who know, understand, or are interested in the astrology. Chiron is in Aries right now, and will be there for quite a while. Aries is the first sign in the zodiac, and it rules the self. It is your "I AM." Physically, Aries rules the head. It rules our faces. It rules physical appearance. Chiron is our deepest wound. It is the place where we might feel the most hurt, but is also the place of some of our biggest gifts. Wherever these two things are in your chart gives you keys to both your "self" and what you need to unravel/heal. Around age 50, we all experience our Chiron return, and, well, stuff comes up. I'm right IN IT now. I'm continuing to dive into my own healing here.

“I have no idea where the next 30 days will take me with my face and my art supplies, but it will be fun to find out.”

Selfies, self portraits, and "hate."

In this day and age of "selfies" it's all too easy to just snap pictures and post... for some people. I don't usually like pictures of myself. Sometimes I do, but most of the time, I don't. Facebook itself was a real challenge when it first came around... it was terrifying to post a photo.

Back in art school I also hated self-portraits. Hated doing them. Hated them when they were done. Hated it when we had to then talk about them.

Why so much "hate" over my own physical appearance? I had a lot of trauma with acne (bad cystic acne) and self esteem as a kid, and in my 20s, so that has been a sensitive area. I have since then learned how to take care of myself much better, and when actually receiving complements on my skin am still surprised, honestly.

My process for this first image: I really want to do this challenge, but keep procrastinating. I grab a piece of old BFK watercolor paper that I've had in a portfolio case for I don't know how long. Finally I sit down and do a 5 minute sketch of an older photo of myself that I like... then I leave it, get up and go back to doing some other things... but it's still there looking at me on my art table which is right next to where I'm working. Finally I put on some calm music (because I seem to need the CALM sounds to get moving) and start with watercolor pencil. For this first one anyways, I decided it was going to be quick and as simple as possible. Using water to smudge the watercolor pencil lines, and then dipping into my Yarka watercolor cakes, I finished a few layers of color. Altogether this might have been about 15 minutes.

How I feel about this... I don't like it. It doesn't look like the photo (OLD harsh self-judgement coming up). I don't care that it doesn't look like the photo, because that wasn't my goal here. I still don't like it. It's just BLEAH. I'm thinking "whatever."

The old BFK watercolor paper doesn't hold a wet-on-wet technique very well, probably because it's not super thick paper. Watercolor paper and watercolor paints are not easily correctable. There is no "undo" command, or way to paint over a bad mistake. you kind of just have to go with the flow of your painting and not think about things too much... and enjoy the process.

Watercolor paper and paints can be very unforgiving... kind of how I am with myself. Right. Thanks for the self-love lesson that I got with this first portrait ❤️

All content and images are © 2020 Charlene Maguire