Her / Self

Annalee Kornelsen, Anne's Warm-up, acrylic on panel

I created this piece after participating in a Bringing Artists Together (BAT) event organized by the Fabulous dance teacher Linda Arkelian. These events offer an opportunity for dancers, visual artists and musicians to work together in the same room an be inspired by each other's creative energy.

The dancer portrayed in this piece is Anne. Here she is seen really taking the time to relax into the teacher's instructions. Her expression is that of someone who has found a quiet moment of relief in an otherwise hectic day. Everything else stops as she relaxes the muscles in her face and feels them connect to the other muscles in her body.

I love capturing the vulnerability visible on someone's face when they connect with something that brings them joy. Dancers are one of the best examples of this since the connection is so physical.

Bonnie Haughton, Alice, oil on canvas

This is a portrait of my mother. She passed away 3 years ago and by doing so left an empty space in the hearts of each of her six children. By painting her portrait I’ve tried not only to capture a likeness of her image but also to capture the essence of her being.

Alice did not always have an easy life but even through the ups and downs she maintained a positive outlook and had a big heart for those in need. All of her six children grew up to be successful and happy human beings. Who could ask for more? During the last few years of her life, Alice’s health started to fail. She could no longer do the gardening that she so loved. It broke her heart to lose her independence and have to depend on others for help.

It was her strength of character that inspired me to paint this portrait of Alice. For those viewers that didn’t know her, I hope you can see her impish spirit. For those of us who knew her, I hope it brings back warm memories.

Brenda Hill, Mystique, graphite

Diane, wife, Mother, Grandmother and Artist, a lover of fine hats with a flare of Mystique.

Brenna George, Nurture and Neglect, acrylic on canvas

In this self-portrait "Nurture and Neglect" I am surrounded by kids and stuff. My identity is intertwined with my children.

I love sketching with my three children it makes me incredibly happy. For years we have been sketching still lifes together, each taking turns choosing toys and stuffies to draw and all slowly building that ever important eye-hand connection. As a mom I struggle with time. When I teach my children a skill like drawing then I don’t have enough time to clean and yet when I am a good housekeeper then I ignore my children.

As a self-portrait it is a humorous reference to portraits that show the sitter's wealth and status, instead as a mom I am surrounded by toys, dirty laundry and dirty dishes. This painting also shows my treasured things, my children and the joy of being creative together.

Carol Wylie, Self-Portrait
graphite and pastel on Stonehenge paper

The portraits I am submitting were created by a process of erasure, and are conceptually driven by the phenomenon of invisibility experienced by older women in Western culture. The ubiquitous cult of youth, the commodification of which is evident in the myriad of alleged anti-aging products available today, contributes to devaluing older women and rendering them invisible. There is little will to include images of older women in popular culture and, indeed, looking old has become almost akin to sin. Elder women suffer marginalization because they are no longer viewed as sexual in a culture that often defines women by their sexuality.

These portraits grew out of intimate interviews and sketching sessions I held with volunteer women between the ages of fifty and ninety. The work also includes self-portraiture, as I, as a woman over fifty, have experienced this feeling of invisibility myself, and wish to place myself within this company and community of women. In addition, using my own image adds autobiographical overtones to the work.

Carol Wylie, Self-Portrait Pulling Cheek
graphite and pastel on Stonehenge paper

The process of erasure that has produced this work stems from both conceptual and methodological roots. I wanted to take the idea of the cultural erasing of older women and turn it on its ear by bringing the images back using erasure. The drawn portraits emerge from a ground of graphite powder, which has been applied to Stonehenge paper with random strokes across the paper, and then are revealed through erasure. My desire to let the work grow out of the process also drives this method of working.

I introduced colour by transitioning to oil paint and Terraskin paper, applying the first layer in a similar way to the graphite, and then removing paint with a rag to draw the image out of the ground. I then applied a second and third layer, introducing new colours and removing bits at each stage; adding and subtracting.

The shift to oil paint allowed me to push the process further, and interact with the work at each stage, as if in conversation. In addition, the trace of my physical presence, evident in the method of application and removal, combined with the images that speak of the presence of these women, create a hybrid that is both myself and my subject. The sharing of time and space experienced in our initial encounter, in this way, is represented in the pieces. The work speaks to our common, human need to see and be seen.

Darija S. Radakovic, Self-Portrait

This is a self­portrait of an immigrant. Two wall clocks as a pair of eyes. Left one is set to show the local time, the other one is the time I left behind. The rest of the portrait is hanging in the middle. The right clock is exactly 8 hours in advance, but in reality that time is beyond my reach and it’s more distant than it appears.

The left one is the one I’m adjusting my life to. The right one is the one I watch to adjust the time of my long-distance calls. The right one belongs to my parents, the left one to my children. I’m finding myself standing in between, trying to assemble a meaningful self­portrait of an immigrant.

Debbie.lee Miszaniec, Portrait of an Artist: Penny Chase, oil on canvas

The purpose of a portrait in my mind is not simply documentary, as in an image of what a person looked like at a particular date in time, but also what was important to that person at that point in time, and a bit about the way that that individual approaches the world. In the Portrait of an Artist series, I was interested in creating portraits of artist I knew well, which reflected all of these things, but also how these things were reflected in their own art.

I wanted to incorporate a sense of the work that these artists do, while maintaining my own creative voice. I chose to eliminate the clothed portions of each artists body, in favor of dressing them in a statement about their body of work. Chase’s work explores the hybridization of cultural identity as a result of cultural interaction and colonization.

Debra Bachman Smith, A, oil and acrylic on wood

At the most basic level, a portrait is a semblance of an actual person. Beyond likeness, however, there is a vast range of possibilities within the practice of portraiture. In many of my portraits I am most interested in exploring the nature of existence.

This portrait of Allison Wiznura was painted over a period of several years, in layers that were built up and then scraped, sanded and dissolved. It’s a reminder that our physical reality is temporary and contingent, but also that the soul is timeless and indestructible.

Debra Bachman Smith, An Interior Life (Hanna), oil on wood

Nothing makes us more aware of the passing years than watching our children grow and fledge. This portrait is a moment in time, my daughter at the age of 15. Rather than an object to be looked at, she is remarkably self-contained. Her inward gaze, along with the closed and untitled book she holds, draws us into a mysterious world. A fitting ode to an independent introverted young person whose story is just beginning.

The painting recognizes the transient nature of both memory and existence. She is forever appearing and dissolving before our eyes. As a painter, this push and pull of holding on and letting go brings meaning and beauty to life.

This portrait owes much to Gwen John (1876-1839) and her astounding psychologically truthful paintings of young women and children.

Deirdre Keohane, Tis a Grand Day for Drying, oil on canvas

This painting is one in a series of paintings I have done based on my homes and where myself and my little family have lived. I have been alone with my 2 children ever since their father died in 2001 and because of this we have had to move many times as we were always renting and trying to get along. I stayed at home because it made more sense and I painted in spare rooms.

The painting is a stylized portrait of me as I hang out the washing in my back yard. The fact that the woman/me is alone is meant to depict the alone-ness of Single parenting and also to acknowledge the work involved in running a household.

Jessica Viens, M, mixed media

This is a dramatic self-portrait as eulogy or shrine. Key features include green alien skin, golden head dress, and third eye now masked by paper flowers. Daunting and difficult to perceive, the image is surrounded by wax soaked dried flowers, paying homage to an idea of a life that was. It is a mini funeral to a time when the first paint touched the canvas, over three years from it's date of completion, always being adjusted until there was nothing left to offer that strange person from the past.

It is a very fragile image and can scarcely be moved without bits and pieces breaking free. The paintbrushes lain across the bottom on the frame are meant to symbolize an offering to the artist of the past from the artist of the present. Originally part of a series, "Lost Boys", this painting stood out for it is not a boy at all, and unlike the other paintings which were brash and bold in colouring and design, this painting remains hidden, quiet, and fragile. The character in the image does appear lost, perhaps hidden in the cloud of her own funeral!

Krista Bailie, Erin, c-print

Part of a larger series of portraits of women who work from home, Erin is a portrait of a conceptual artist who produces work on the topic of motherhood while surrounded by the experience of being a mother. As in all of the portraits in the series, HomeWorkErin looks at the realities of being a stay at home mother while attempting to create work. It speaks to a common experience of loneliness, judgment, guilt and extreme isolation.

As a conceptual artist, the topic of motherhood is often considered too banal to be relevant so the work also addresses the desire to be considered legitimate and relevant in an art world that is notoriously closed to any hint of sentimentality. The aim of this and the other portraits in the series is to confront the viewer and to ask them to re-evaluate their own systems of belief, especially as it applies to the experience and treatment of mothers in our society.

Marina Nelson, Quietude, acrylic

I looked at this painting, which was an original self-portrait, and realized that it didn’t represent me anymore. I have changed. Not so much physically but internally. Four years ago I was concussed in an accident, which dramatically changed my life. Right after the accident I could not see – the blackness lasted some time before I regained my sight. From an exuberant, outgoing person I turned into a complete recluse, shying away from contact with others.

I wanted to obliterate that colourful, joyful self-portrait and paint on that canvas a landscape or something different. However, my image seeped through the blackness and I saw myself as both disappearing into that void and emerging from it. I am not fully there yet, and I find quietude the best air for my senses. But the touches of colour which seep through, almost of their own accord, mirror the slow but steady reclaiming of the life I once lived. It is a painting of hope with happiness emerging.

Noemi LoPinto, Whistling Woman, digital photograph

This woman was whistling softly to herself on the metro. I liked the frame all the arms made around and criss-crossing her body. I liked the sense of confidence she seems to radiate. When I look at this picture, I see an individual who is very comfortable with who she is. I also am reminded of how we urbanites share space, how it lends to both intimacy and alienation.

Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki, Resilience, watercolor

Siobhan was a young single mother at the time this portrait was done. She was supplementing her income with modeling for artists. I was stricken by her strength, optimism and resourcefulness in a situation that would bring women of past generations to despair. This beautiful and smart young woman was always coming to the sessions on time, held poses gracefully and expressed keen interest in art.

She was doing just fine!

I have made several drawings and paintings with this model because her energy and attitude resonated with my belief in resilience of individualism. This portrait captures an introspective moment of a strong woman before taking on a next challenge.