This is the imprimatura for a new self portrait. It is the beginning base coat of color. This composition marks a big shift in my work. It’s significance is that I am facing outward, because in all my previous self portraits, I am looking down and/or away from the viewer. Here is a sampling. Granted, I am not gazing directly at the viewer in this new composition but that may come later. (Actually, once I started a painting in which I am gazing directly at the viewer but interestingly, I was not able to finish it.) Still, I am involved with world around me and I I allow my eyes to be seen.
In the 10/26/14 post, Halting the Retreat, I shared how one of my parts had just begun letting me see her face. Even then, she needed to obscure herself a bit with sunglasses. In that same vein, this painting has me wearing transition lens glasses, but you can see my eyes through the tint. I guess the transition lens are a perfect metaphor for where I’m at in my recovery. I am in the process of shedding some of my internal shame. But I am moving slowly and cautiously.
These observations usually happen after the act of creation. I did not paint a body of self portraits that depict me basically hiding from the viewer to purposefully parallel my internal sense of shame. It just came out that way. My art just usually broadcasts where I am in my life long before I am conscious of it. My therapist told me that is because art, for many dissociatives, is a form of internal communication. And we can often look to our art to understand and receive information about ourselves.
Lately, I have been breaking out of isolation and socializing more; I am also taking a focussed look at my past. Both these types of interactions has me engaging with my world, inner and outer. Showing my eyes is therefore really pivotal. I sense a new trend will emerge in my art for a while. It is a bit unnerving but I feel ready for the change.