A Self Portrait – Killer Bee
“Don’t hide yourself – be the person you are, and find your essence.”
Käthe Kollwitz, Diaries, 18 February 1917
Painting my self portrait is a ritual habit that imporves my skills and sensitivities. “Killer Bee,” started as a painting a day challenge, but it demanded more of my attention. The asymmetrical composition and an unusual chin angle intrigued me. “Killer Bee” won The Spevieg Stomose Palmer Memorial Award for Conservative Portrait Painting. An honor from The National Association of Women Artists in New York City. The story behind the self portrait in the Killer Bee shirt is far from conservative.
The killer bee tee shirt came from Sunshine’s bar in Nevis. A killer bee is a concoction that has erased many a memory. Only one! There are stories…funny ones that are kind of embarrassing. A friend and I had one and split the second. You join the Killer Bee Club if you make it out alive!
Many a master artist made a self portrait for practice. Rembrandt Hamenszoon van Rijn is a personal favorite. Other selfie artists include Frida Khalo, Susan Hauptman, Kathe Kollwitz and Lucien Freud to name a few. Notice the progression of the artistic expression of personality. A lifetime of reacting to the mirror, and the artist’s personal spirit.
I paint a self portrait on or around my birthday every year. This started at age 60. I will be 65 this August. Last year’s Selfie at 64 was a reaction to incredible loss. Hanging the portraits together shows the progression of time. The progression of my painting intelligence as well as my aging face and life lessons.
We are our best models. Since you are the model, the price is right and no scheduling is necessary. Painting from life exercises my artistic memory. I crave the challenge to catch the mood, light and color of my self portrait in the mirror.