November 27, 2011

Self Portraits, Discovering One’s Self

Artists often compile a few self portraits throughout their creative journey. 

The creative process has always been one of self discovery and is not based on mere technical know-how. When an artist makes a decision to produce a self portrait, it’s very introspective.

Some artist use self portraits further study the human anatomy and refine their skills, while others use self portraits to further discover themselves… in an effort to answer a famous question…  ‘Who am I?’ There is something different that takes place when you look at your own face, your creases, your expression, your eyes… You see things that you didn’t see before. You ask yourself questions as though you’re trying to get to know someone, and the someone is you. As you paint, you create a view into your soul and reveal the real you in a way that could not have been done otherwise.

“I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best”

– Frida Kahlo


Self Portraits

Artist Self Portrait, 2011 © Vanessa Turner, 21.5in x 21.5in


When you look at this portrait,
what would you guess I was feeling,
what would I have wanted to say?

For each self-portrait, the artist must ask: What expression, pose, style of dress, background, colour, etc. best express the real me? Or perhaps it is the final picture that reveals to the artists who they are. After years of work, artist often ends up with a compilation of portraits essentially showing their life.

“If you cannot capture the essence of your own self, how are you to capture the essence of someone else?”

Quoted by : Bridget Brow

There’s something about portraiture which resonates deeply with me. When completing a portrait, I aim to bring out the essence of the person. It is my intention for the portrait to bear a likeness not only to the person’s features but also their character and spirit.



  • Dawny November 27, 2011

    Beautiful job Nessa!

  • Vanessa November 27, 2011

    Thank you Dawny!

  • Christina November 27, 2011

    Love these portraits. The series is excellent. Even better- seeing the artists’ portrayal of their own face, this article is a great compliment.

  • 2dolla peimp! November 28, 2011

    awesomeness nessle! never thought of doing a self-project! ya large n sharp!

  • Regina Burchett November 30, 2011

    Excellent – not only did you capture your physical appearance, but you put a lot of expression and thoughtfulness into your eyes also. Really good!

  • Gabrielle December 1, 2011

    This is beautiful! You really did a lovely job with your eyes, too. I also like your composition, with the close cropping. It adds a lot to the piece. Nice work!

  • Vanessa December 1, 2011

    Thanks Chris! It was definitely a challenge to do myself. Makes you go through some serious self acceptance. I’m sure you know from your photography and film that people are most critical of themselves. But it was a great experience. I think I’ll do it again at some point.

  • Vanessa December 1, 2011

    Awww what a treat to have you pop by my spot (hugs) Thanks mate! Your portrait is on my to-do list!

  • Nancy Poucher December 3, 2011

    So beautiful, Vanessa.

  • Stacey-Ann December 13, 2011

    Very expressive. Good job! I especially love the eyes.

  • Vanessa December 28, 2011

    Thank you Nancy

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.