[G8] Self Portrait



Self-Portrait is a drawn, painted, sculpted or image of the artist where they painted/drew/sculpted the artwork themselves. Self-Portrait was believed to start during the Early Renaissance in the Mid 15th century. Usually self-portraits are abstract or realistic and shows characteristics, emotions or the artists mood.

Here are some examples of famous self-portraits:

“Gustav Klimt Paintings, Gustav Klimt Art, Painting, Art Gallery | AGA.” Paintings, Pictures, Art Gallery Artist Galleries, Art, Artwork : AGA. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2010. .

Source: here

This is a self-portrait created by the famous artist, Vincent van Gogh, in 1888. The name of this self-portrait is called ‘Self Portrait with Felt Hat’. This painting is now on display at the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.  This painting was created by oil painting on a 44×37.5cm canvas. Vincent van Gogh usually create paintings of still lives, buildings, life, landscapes and rooms. He usually paint using oil painting. Impressionism is Vincent van Gogh’s favorite type of art. Impressionism is a type of art style that presents a feeling or experience more than portraying. I think Vincent van Gogh decided to create his own self-portrait for fun and to experiment for painting techniques. However, after research I found out that Vincent van Gogh started painting his own self-portrait because he wanted to improve his skills as an artist. Vincent van Gogh also painted his own self-portrait because he does not have enough money to pay for models, which usually is peasants at that time. That is also a reason why he started painting flowers and landscape instead of humans.

I think Vincent van Gogh might have used a mirror for that painting. The reason why I thought so is because his painting seems very detailed. For me personally, I think I cannot paint my face so detailed like his, if I do not have a sample or a amateur. I also think that Vincent van Gogh seems quite independent, he seems quite shy and quiet. The reason why I thought so is because he chose to draw a picture of himself not looking straight to the audience, but looking sideways. The painting shows to me that the painting is trying to show the mood ‘sad’. The expression on his face in the art above seems like he has stress and sad, because he didn’t smile at all. He also didn’t use very bright colors such as pink or red. In this painting he did not use any distortions. I think distortions isn’t really Vincent van Gogh’s style of painting. If he did distortions for this painting I think this painting might have not express the ‘sad’ mood that well and would make the painting seems cartoonish and not serious.


“ITSSD Journal on Political Surrealism (Radical ‘Change’): For Obama, Picasso’s Surrealism Has Strong Aesthetic & Political Undertones: What Would ‘Reality’ Mean to an Obama Administration?.” ITSSD Journal on Political Surrealism (Radical ‘Change’). N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2010. <http://itssdjournalpoliticalsurrealism.blogspot.com/2008/06/for-obama-picassos-surrealism-has.html&gt;.

Source: here

I think many people would recognize the style of painting the self-portrait above appears. This is another piece of self-portrait made by Pablo Picasso in 1972. Pablo Picasso is very famous for Cubist and Abstract painting and art. He experimented new styles of painting. His art also shows his attitudes towards war. He mainly uses oil pastels in his art. Pablo Picasso is also known to be a very talented artist since a he was only 10 years old. I think Pablo Picasso created his painting to express the mood  ‘bored’ since his art seems quite sloppy and not very neat. I think he felt bored while he was creating this piece of art, also because of how he colored the art, he did not color the art completely. He only colored one side and a bit sloppy. Personally, this art kinda of drived me nuts, because when I found this picture, clicked on it for full size image, it appears to be really, really large. Also I find the art quite creepy because of the face. When I got to view it really large, I find the art… quite scary. This might meant that this art is very good  to deliver different types of feelings/emotions to the audience.

I think Pablo Picasso does not use a mirror to draw this painting. That is because I think he used his imagination instead. The painting seems abstract and cartoonish which I think would be hard to draw if there was a mirror. There was quite a lot of distortion in this art. The eyeballs, eye bags and nose seems to be exaggerated for a abstract look. I think Pablo Picasso did this so the art could show more feelings and mood. After observing this art I think that Pablo Picasso is a very intelligent and artistic person, because of how he drew his art. His art is very different from others and also shows many shapes and different forms that no one did back then.


In my opinion, artists have to use some sort of material in order for them to paint. I think if artists didn’t use a mirror, they would probably get/pay for a model, use photographs/pictures or their own imagination. Images that are best to create self-portraits are photos that are closed-up to the persons face and has no effects or things that blocks their face. The artist should be able to see the models face clearly.

To create a digital self-portrait, we need to find a image we want to draw with, if not we can just use our imagination. After that we might plan and think of ideas of how to express our mood/message/feelings or emotions to people. Then after that we could use a program to help create our art. Some people might want to trace around the original picture, but that is optional.



” Vincent van Gogh Biography – His Life and Times .” Vincent van Gogh Gallery – Welcome! . N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2010. <http://www.vangoghgallery.com/misc/bio.html&gt;.

“Pablo Picasso – Olga’s Gallery.” Olga’s Gallery – Online Art Museum.. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2010. <http://www.abcgallery.com/P/picasso/picasso.html&gt;.



Step 1:

For my first step, first I choose three pictures: a lake, some street lights and a picture of myself took in the Auditoruim. First I added an alpha channel on my image and later on erased the background using the ‘Eraser Tool’. After that I adjust the color of my image, making it brighter. Once that is finished, I used the ‘IWarp’ tool. It is a tool similar to ‘liquify’ in Photoshop. I made my eyes bigger and my nose smaller, to make my image look more interesting.  Then I added a mint-purple gradient background using the  ‘Blend Tool’. Then I added the two images, a image of a lake and some street lights and set its ‘Mode’ to ‘Screen’. I then added filters into my image and erase some parts out.

I think I can still improve on creating my artwork to show an story, emotion or feeling. From the image above it does not seem like my art work is trying to show something to the audience. That is why I decided to create another self portrait.

Step 2:

Since I decided to create another self portrait, I had to come up with an theme or something to represent in my second self portrait. I decided not to have my first self portrait as a practice, because I think my 1st self portrait isn’t that bad, and could also be turned in.

I used the same picture I took in the Auditorium. I erased the background using the same method as Step 1, but this time I ‘Colorized’ my image into a hot-pink color. Also, instead of having a mint-purple gradient, I added a orange-purple gradient. This is to show that I can be calm and temper. The colors fade into each other showing that  I will not take things seriously, I will always stay calm. I then added 2 images of a yellow polka dot star, and rotate them into the angles I want. The stars in the image is to represent how I look at life– which is fun. Life for me is full of plenty things to explore, and have fun.


As you can see, you can mostly see warm colors in my final self portrait. I didn’t use any filters at all. This is because I do not want my art work to look too fake. The reason why I used lots of warm colors, such as orange, pink and red is because I do not want my self portrait to look depressing and not interesting for the audience. I think by using these colors it made my self portrait stand out too.

Compared to my first self portrait, I think my second one is better. Not only that my second self portrait shows feelings and represents something, my second self portrait is more colorful. I think that probably when someone sees my first self portrait, they would probably think I am cold, boring and scary– which is the opposite. I learned that colors have importance and can affect how our product looks like.


Things I find quite challenging is erasing the background of the image. Erasing the background is quite an opportunity for me, because the background for my image is entirely black. Because of this, it is harder to erase the background without cutting/erasing parts of my hair/head. I’ve learned many skills in this unit. I’ve learned how to use the ‘Blending tool’. When I saw it the first time, I did not know what that tool was for. But after listening to Mr. Douglas explain, I learned that we could use it for the background too. Comparing to some of my friend’s artwork, I think that I did quite well about erasing the background from my original image, because I saw people erasing a bit too much, which causes some people’s images to look a bit fake.

Surprisingly, time isn’t a problem for me at all. I finished my self portrait in class and do not need to work it at home. Therefore, next time if I get to do this unit again, I would like to plan ahead, so that I do not need to make many self portraits, which I may not use in the future.


3 thoughts on “[G8] Self Portrait

  1. Thanks for sharing! Self portraits are carried out by many artists and have been for centuries. It’s interesting to see how the artists perceive themselves and how they demonstrate this to the viewer. Great post, and thanks for sharing your own modern portraits.

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