Sterre, Self-Portrait, 3×4 ft, Italian canvas, acrylic and oil (2017)
It took me very long to make this self-portrait, I was not very inspired due to overfamiliarity with my face. As I am older now, I thought it was high time that I make a portrait. I have always admired the self-portraits of different artists, whether it was Rembrandt or Van Gogh or so many others. This is my version of myself in 2017 and it says a lot about me .
Here, I painted myself when l was about 65. The lines on my forehead and around my mouth tell my story. If you look carefully every detail is like a word that describes me.
My whole life is about colour. In this painting, my hair is wild and full of colour. I enjoyed many different hair colours, as colourful as my life. My eye always looks for colour before I see images. On one side, my ear sprouts colour pencils which I use quite a bit, in particular when I paint in watercolour. On the other side, my ear sprouts paintbrushes already pre-loaded with colour.
A strawberry springs from one of my ears which is an allusion to my childhood. In our free time, I helped farmers pick strawberries in season, together with my sister.
As we move up to my forehead, a honeycomb with some bees appears. Here I allude to my fascination with bees, which started during my childhood when I went to see a Bee and Honey Making Museum.
I love observing the bees dancing with flowers but there is another reason. I do quite a lot of yoga and meditation and when I am in deep meditation, I feel vibrations in my head, especially when I do the ‘hum mantra”. I feel that my brain is humming, just like a beehive!
Next, on my forehead, there are the heads of a peacock and a snake. They are sworn enemies in nature. Here they are shown at peace, they signify that my mind is always trying to feel peace, make peace and create peace.
The swans on my face represent the vertical lines on my forehead, they symbolise that I like those lines. The shells represent the sound of the ocean and the ringing in my head. Birds are ever present in much of my art. Here, they appear once more, dancing and free. Of course last but not least, I painted butterfly wings which I consider to be flying flowers.
So here I am in full flow with my cynical smile and ever-observing eyes!
My mother, who is a tapestry weaver, really liked this painting. She made a beautiful tapestry based on it that is just the same size as the original. It is included here.