Identity Self-Portrait

I reworked the butterfly last night, 9-2-11, because I felt the color was too pale.  I like it better than ever.  The colors in the butterfly are made up-I used the shape and wing markings of a real butterfly but I did whatever colors I felt liked, making it as unique as I could and representing of course, along my usual theme, that no two people’s souls are alike.

I woke up very early this morning (8-27-11) and pulled out the self-portrait I did in 2003 that I have been walking by everyday for the last week.  It’s bothered me since I finished it.  I loved the picture of “me” but I felt the whole thing was too busy and too small to really understand.  So, I took my utility knife to it and cropped, cropped, cropped!  I liked the butterflies and the labels, but I like them big as they look now.  Before they were difficult to see and read unless you stood with your nose on the painting.  I think I will use the labels and butterfly souls in the new Self-Portrait art journal I recently started.  I’m happy with it the self-portrait as it looks now with the double image of me and the colorful butterfly of my soul.

I painted this self-portrait at a time when I was exploring my changing identity as a dancer.  It was a period when I was unable to dance and that had never happened to me before.  On the bench I portrayed myself twice-once as a whole dancer and once as the empty shell of a dancer that I felt I was becoming.  Above my portrait I painted a butterfly which represented the uniqueness of my soul.  This is the only part that is left of the self-portrait.  In the original, the rest of the painting had women that represented society’s idea of the desirable woman and dancer. Above each woman was a butterfly that had gesso covering parts of the soul to represent how their soul had been taken by the ideal.  Below each woman was a label.  Just as society labels certain women as the ideal, these labels represent the real identity of the women as they seem to me.  There was originally a label below my portrait that represented the identity I wanted to be my label. I cut it off as I didn’t especially think it fit with the whole portrait.

In 2003, this painting was part of a juried show called “Women of Faith” held in the visitors’ center at the Washington, D.C. LDS Temple.