• Lou Watson

Let's talk portraits!

Hey friends

Let’s think about portraits for a minute. What comes in to your head if someone says portrait?

I think about oil paintings of kings and queens in gold frames, or I think about drawing portraits in art class at high school - sitting opposite another classmate and drawing their face as accurately as possible.

But a portrait doesn’t actually have to look like the person you are making a portrait of - maybe your portrait is a representation of the spirit of a person, maybe it’s a representation of how that person makes you feel. Or maybe it concentrates on just one aspect of the person you are making the portrait of - a giant eyeball maybe?

Artists can make portraits in loads of different ways - drawing and painting, photography, sculpture, video and even performance!

Ana Mendieta was a Cuban artist who made impressions of her body in the ground, a self portrait that was a performance and also land-art (land-art is an art form where you sculpt or interact with the earth/landscape).

The image here is one of Ana's self portrait earthworks from her Siluetas series. Do you know what Siluetas means?

And as for video portraits, here is a link to a video portrait I made of my son Finn several years ago (he looks so little in this video, he is now 19 years old and a whopping 6’ 4”!). I wanted to convey how he experienced the world without using words, as he has a condition called Auditory Agnosia. Sometimes a self-portrait is good way to share your feelings with the world.

So in conclusion, when you make your portraits there really are no rules. It can be a life-like representation, like this painting by Frida Kahlo (Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird/Autorretrato con collar de espinas y colibrí),

or it can be an this painting by Joan Miro, called Woman and Bird at Night.

So what is your portrait going to look like? And more importantly, what is it going to feel like?


JAM ON(line)!