What People Are Saying About Penny

"I like to think of you as a high priced call girl that the unwashed masses can't afford--like Woody Allen's Whore of Mensa. It's not your fault that people offer $10 blowjobs on the street corner. It's not an insult if somebody doesn't buy your art." -Alexandra J Walters

"Once Penny was making her own silk thread, and a midget appeared. Before he could open his ugly mouth, without looking up, she exclaimed, 'Rumpelstiltskin. Now get the fuck out of here.' Fairytale Over."- Beth Featherstone

"Penny can push a needle through a telephone pole without a thimble." -Shane Blaufuss

"When a man asked Penny, 'What’s the meaning of life?' She looked at him for exactly 3 minutes, completely still, until he cried. That man’s name was Steve Jobs."- Beth Featherstone

"A demon from the pits of bitch cunt." -W.C. Hurst

Friday, June 4, 2010

I haven't done a self portrait in at least 10 years, easily longer. This week, I did seven.

I almost never do self portraits. They feel too much like I'm secretly indulging in vanity. I can't help but think they're somehow not honest. Am I portraying myself how I wished I looked? Am I trying to seduce the viewer, or attempting to show a quality I wish I had? These questions always come up when I sketch myself, and pretty soon I've abandoned the drawing. I mean, we all want to look attractive, and it's hard to let that go when you're deliberately posing and presenting your face.

So I did one straight forward portrait and was quickly disappointed. It looked fine technically, but it was boring as hell, and those old fears about naval gazing crept in. So I decided to draw myself making the most ridiculous faces I could think of.
Scrunch Face
Listening to Max Beerbohm while sketching will possess your self portrait
Stop punching yourself.
For Bridget
NO!
Daydreaming about breakfast

Here's what I learned/remembered:
1. Hot Damn! I can draw some shit!
2. At art fag school, they were always drilling into me, "Draw what you SEE." You're brain will make things look like you think they "should". That's not actually what they look like. A good test is to turn the piece upside down. Perspective problems, poor composition, all the tricks your brain played will fall apart.
3. Speaking of drawing what you see, I drew a bunch of hands this week. Now they totally creep me out. They look like fat little squid feelers attached to my arms, and I can barely stand them. If you spend a lot of time really studying your body parts, shit gets weird. I need to draw some feet for a project, but now I'm avoiding it.
4. I was surprised that my favorite piece out of the series is probably the least attractive portrait of me I could possibly do. (The first one/Scrunch Face)When you're not trying to look pretty, you can really focus and amaze yourself.
5. When I go out, I try to put on a little makeup. Powder, mascara, lip gloss. For these, I pretty much rolled out of bed and didn't even bother brushing my hair. In most of them, I'm wearing the same tee shirt for several days. It's funny that for people I'll probably spend less than an hour with on the very rare occasion, I'll get dolled up. But for these portraits, where I have to study the true picture of my face, flaws and all, and immortalize it not only on paper but on the internet, I couldn't have cared less. All of these drawings have some beautiful moments in them, and they have nothing to do with makeup or awesome clothes.
6. Although I've never thought poorly about my looks, my perspective about what I believe makes me attractive has certainly been challenged by this series.
7. The most fun part about this was the responses and encouragement I've gotten from people. Bridget really went for it and tagged the photos on Flickr with amazing descriptions. She is hilarious!

6 comments:

  1. penny i have been loving these all week! regarding point 5, perhaps it's not so much that you "couldn't care less," so much as not needing to put on the mask for yourself. i'm speaking from my own perspective, obviously, but perhaps you accept yourself more readily without getting "dolled up," more than you think others will - i know i do.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love each and every one of these. You put yourself out there and it's fantastic. And for the record, you are a pretty lady, with or without makeup or scrunchy face.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I feel like I know you much better after seeing this.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Ladies! Sweet Bridget.

    Alex- I hope that's a good thing? I liked reading your post on turning 36.

    ReplyDelete
  5. 3. Speaking of drawing what you see, I drew a bunch of hands this week. Now they totally creep me out. They look like fat little squid feelers attached to my arms, and I can barely stand them. If you spend a lot of time really studying your body parts, shit gets weird. I need to draw some feet for a project, but now I'm avoiding it.

    This is so true. I did a piece once that looked just at hands and I got so weirded out by what my hands actually look like I couldn't look at them for quite some time!

    ReplyDelete