Friday, 25 September 2009

Self Portrait

A THIRD DECADE BEGINS! And in need of some "proper" painting practice, I decided to set my last day of twenty-nine in oil paint. I have painted three self portraits in my life, as well as a few drawings, and mainly do so because I love to paint people and their faces best of all, but have not had any other face than my own that would sit there patiently long enough! I paint from a mirror, and, I have just noticed, always seem to sit at the same angle, probably because I'm right-handed. I leafed through a wonderful tome - 500 Self-Portraits - full of artists' depictions of themselves from antiquity to modernity, and was inspired. Here are a few of my favourites:

(click to enlarge)

1. Vincent van Gogh. 2. L.S. Lowry. 3. Albrecht Dürer (at age 13!). 4. Rembrandt van Rijn. 5. Hans Holbein. 6. Filippino Lippi. 7. Käthe Kollwitz. 8. Vincent van Gogh. 9. Gwen John. 10. Edgar Degas. 11. Giorgio Morandi.

Such beautiful work, that I could only hope to emulate. My recent attempt I am fairly pleased with, and thought it might be interesting to compare it with my earlier self portraits!..


Rima Staines - Self Portrait at age 18.
Oils on board



Rima Staines - Self Portrait at around age 24.
Oils on board



Rima Staines - Self Portrait The Day Before Turning Thirty
In A Garment Of My Own Imagination
Oils on board


This last is painted on a piece of hardboard with no undercoat, and I've purposely left it rather scrubby. I took stage photographs which I thought folks might be interested in seeing..


(click to enlarge)

I wear a "garment of my own imagination" - made from all the faces of characters that fill my world, drawn in pencil..



And here are some close ups..




It is a strange thing stepping into a new decade. In our heads I think we all feel around the age of 21, or thereabouts, the age at which we got to some inner point of knowing ourselves. As I age I find that the age of others has become pretty irrelevant to me, which is quite in contrast to the aeons that seemed to separate me from older children in the class a year above me at school.
It is just another day after all. And a splendid day I had! My mum sent me a home made birthday cake through the post, there were beautiful cards and gifts from friends old and new, and Tui and I took good food and wine and lamps and a blanket down to the woods for a fire, to see in my turning One Score Year And Ten...


97 comments:

Jessie said...

Stunning! I cannot put into words how stunning this is. Happy belated birthday Rima!xx

Velma said...

i like how your face and your painting have both matured and ripened. thanks for sharing with us! happy birthday!

Charlotte Hills said...

I find the way we see ourselves fascinating, I love your view of yourself.

Happy Birthday, welcome to a lovely decade, it just gets better and better, turning 30 was the point at which I truly found myself. Although I think you are already there!

Griffin said...

At least after you were 18 you remembered to dress when portraying yourself, must have been more conscious of wanting to be warmer!!

Like Elizabeth the First, another Virgo, there is something similar to her face in yours... are you sure you're not Queen of something?!!

I love the Self Portrait by Artemisia Gentileschi, very much an artist at work. The portrait of Marie Vigee-Lebrun is good too.

Glad you had a lovely birthday and wish I was as young as you... sigh! I will be 16 years older in November! Fortunately I am only as old as that biologically - mentally I am still 21... and refusing to get older!! I may of course have entered my second childhood prematurely!!!

Gen said...

Absolutely beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful self-portraits, Rima!

I am soon to leave my third decade, which is a little sad, because I love it so. But I'm looking ever so forward to my fourth.

Anyway, enjoy your new decade. You will most likely, as I have, find more of who you truly are. There is a certain peace and vision that comes when you let it.

Dragan said...

Why was she born so beautiful?
Why was she born at aaalll?
She's no bloody use to anyone...
She's no bloody use at aalll!

Happy Birthday, Rima!

Athena's Armoury said...

Wow. Stunning. Happy birthday, too!

Jan said...

Birthday greetings, fair Rima. If you were here I would make you another cake to celebrate. Here being Oregon in the USA. I have 40 wild acres and would be happy to let you and your man and home park here awhile near the river. I can help you celebrate by purchasing something from you on Etsy. My own experience, looking back from 55 years of age, is that for contented souls, life just gets better and better. Inside I feel about 35. Enjoy your young body while you can. Even with my best efforts, age is imposing itself on me. Pay attention to how wonderful it feels to be supple and springy, appreciate it now. That's my birthday advice, unasked for. Thanks for sharing your life and thoughts and wonderful art with us. You are a beautiful soul.

Heather said...

Sometimes my wretched laptop won't let me leave a comment, but today it has. I'm so pleased as I want to say how wonderful I think all your self-portraits are - you are very talented and put it all to good use. I am stunned by the Durer portrait. Happy Birthday and many more happy years of creating wonderful works of art to come.

giftsofthejourney said...

Beautiful images..you always do such lovely work....Happy Birthday.

My husband John and I have September birthdays as well. Today is his. Mine was earlier in the month.

Shelley said...

Happy year, Rima. I enjoy your art and insights on your blog. Best wishes in this new year of your life. Interesting about how old we feel. Somehow after turning 33 it has become the year in my mind that I think of when asked my age. Really I am a few years older now. But before hitting my 30s it was something like 24 for a while. The years are what we make of them. Yours seem to have been a wonderful journey. Best wishes!

krisztina maros said...

wonderful portraits Rima - i like your dress with faces! happy belated birthday!

Shelley said...

Also, beautiful portrait and a wonderful tradition. Thanks for sharing the close ups that tell the story of the brush strokes and lines of color. Lovely.

Threadspider said...

Happy, happy birthday Rima. Wondeful series of portraits-others and your own.

Aria said...

A lovely portrait and post. Now I must spend the morning exploring your sidebar links. Not sure why I hadn't thought of it before.

Gretchen Joanna said...

Thank you so much for sharing your self-portraits on the occasion of your own self's birthday. Many blessings of the day and every day this coming year.

beadbabe49 said...

Lovely portraits and thank you for sharing the process on the latest one...I do love to see the "how" behind the magic...

Clare W said...

A very Happy Birthday - stunning portarait. xx

Jeanne-ming said...

I am new to your blog and totally enchanted. The self portrait is honest and clever. Happy Birthday, and as a 54 year old wo also still thinks she is 21, enjoy your young body.

jeff said...

Happy Birthday, Rima !
Cet auto portrait me rappelle l'oeil de van Gogh, sa détermination, sa fantaisie... C'est un peintre que j'adore parce qu'il "parle" à tout le monde... enfants, adolescents, adultes, grands adultes...
Il y a un travail très original dans le vêtement de ton auto-portrait ! Ces visages sont une multitude de personnages qui te collent à la peau ! ! !

J'adore ton travail Rima...
Sorry for speaking french !...

See you and... Happy Birthday !

Bises...;-)
A bientôt !

jamjar said...

Happy birthday Rima, all your portraits are beautifully painted, but I love the subtlties of your latest one, the warmth of your nature shines through. I recently saw the clock that you painted for Jackie Morris at her cottage, your work is even more fabulous in the flesh - or should that be oil and wood!!

Carol Stocker said...

Happy Birthda dear Rima; how wonderful to be 30! May the wind always be at your back....thank you for sharing your amazing art and your beautiful portrait. Hugs, Carol

Shell said...

Happy Birthday, Rima. Enjoy your new decade. Your self-portraits are breath taking.

alette siri ane said...

I see a strong woman,colorfull,eyes wide open .Age gives more of what we already have.When a woman stands tall in her body,owns it she is a sight to behold at any age!

NomadRip said...

Your art is amazingly beautiful. Happy Birthday!

Ellen-Mary said...

You are amazing! I wish you the happiest of birthdays and many, many more.

Snippety Giblets said...

I agree with Jessie. Sometimes your work leaves me speechless and with tears standing in my eyes. I love the first portrait for its youth and rawness, and the second one for its honesty and vibrancy, but the most recent one is amazing. You have just captured the tilt of your head and the wisdom in those ageless eyes of yours. And the garment of faces is fabulous. Are you sure you don't have magical powers ? :0)

Allegra Smith said...

And what were her brushes made of? Feathers molted from angels' wings collected in the forest, her cloth of soul mirrors, her rosy cheeks by the heat of the fire and her birthday? a day to celebrate by the warmth of her mister while making poetry in silence. Happy birthday dear Rina, I have tried to paint you a portrait with colors of affection. Many happy returns of this day filled with good health, serenity and music.

greencocoon said...

beautiful self portraits. I jsut came across your blog the other day and have been completely captivated by your art! Thank you for sharing it with the rest of us!!

Happy birthday!! xoxox
Julia~

joana soares said...

Happy birthday dear great artist!

Shelley Noble said...

Happy Birthday to Rima, Indeed! You've really captured your essence, Rima. Truly a masterful work.

jude said...

happy birthday. i have the same thing to say and i am near 60. your portraits interest me because you seem to be getting younger in some way.

changelingthings said...

Happy Birthday! What beautiful portraits. And to think you're only 30 with so much talent and skill and so many years ahead to paint and draw! I'm 40 and absolutely agree with you about age. I don't feel much different to the way I felt at 30. I remember my grandmother saying to me that she always got a shock when she looked in the mirror because she always felt like she was 3O inside and couldn't quite reconcile that with the age shown on the outside.

Anonymous said...

Spectacular!

dinahmow said...

I see flashes of you in many of your drawings, particularly the one(upper left..."there is no excellent beauty..." ) and now I see why.
An ageless face, Rima. May you enjoy many more delightful years.

Nao Sims said...

Happy Birthday Beautiful Rima~

There is such tremendous soul in your work. I am constantly in awe when I come here.

Your self portraits reveal such depth and otherworldlyness. Truly Beautiful~

Ageless, timeless, eternal.

Madame Awesomepants said...

I think you look the youngest and most joyful in your most recent self portrait. Funny how age allows us to truly shine.

Vanyvalu said...

Congratulations Rima!!!!! Have a beautiful, creative, healthy, exciting and wonderful new year of living.
I love your portrait, it seems to me strong, honest and brave. I like very much the details in your face, and also the transparency, it´s a piece that invites me to see more and more of it, as if it were to speak something at some point.
Hugs and blessings!

Eva said...

Best wishes for a new year in your life! Your self portraits are amazing, and you are a very, very talented lady. I studied arts from 1969-75 and made a number of self portraits, but none of them reached the quality which yours has -- the one you made at 18! Stunning. I'm looking forward to all your work we'll see in the future.

Gemma Mortlock said...

Congratulations!!!
Happy Birthday, your self portraits are amazing, so serious and melancholy but brillaint! happy Birthday Rima
xxxx

acornmoon said...

Happy birthday Rima, your self portrait is wonderful and your talent never fails to impress.

oq said...

Happy birthday! I can see from your self portraits how much you have evolved. All the best!

nadia said...

many many happy birthday greetings from over here in italy!
what a lovely birthday it sounds to have been...
your self-portraits are as spectacular as the paintings we usually see on your blog, if in a totally different way. such a different style was quite a surprise and the nth confirmation that you are indeed an extremely talented lady! most wonderful indeed :)
enjoy yourselves

Manasi Parikh said...

rima! happy birthday :) this stuff is awesome as always! you don't know me, so i have some talking to do..i'm a student of animation film design from india. i'm crazy about travel and dream to live in a caravan someday. came across your blog, and you're totally living my dream! and i so so envy you, caravans aren't very popular in india. for my final year film, i'm working on a story based on a caravan/mobile house, and i'd really like to talk to you! i would be so honoured if you could spare some time for this very enthuastic 20 year old! my e-mail id is manasiparikh@gmail.com. if it's okay, you could drop in a line so i can get yours and mail you back. i'd really love to know more from you! super eagerly awaiting a reply!! cheers, manasi

Julie Bouésso said...

Sounds like a splendid day & time you had on your birthday! Very nice. All the best even while my wishes come belated! I love the stage shots. Now I wonder can one really LEARN to paint? You know there are tons of classes teaching you the step-by-steps. Let me know what you think - the advice coming from a skilled painter would either motivate or confirm my disbelief. Cheers, Julie

Christina said...

Happy birthday Rima, your 30s will be wonderful! Your portrait is amazing, and thank you for the close-ups, I love seeing how other people work, especially when their technique is so different from mine. I know what you mean about the angle, I'm right-handed too and all the self-portraits I've ever done are from exactly the same angle, even the ones I've tried to cunningly disguise as 'not-portraits'!

Fernanda Azevedo said...

Happy birthday!
In portuguese -Parabéns!

Yarrow said...

Very Happy Birthday to you Rima, and what a beautiful and gentle painting. I love it :)

x

Owen said...

Cool, I get to be commentor #50, a nice round number, to congratulate you on becoming 30, a ripe old age... Your self portraits, especially the latest one are gorgeous, I particularly like the close up details you shared... Looks like a roaring great fire too, no danger of catching the chills... best wishes, your blog is really one of the most beautiful out there imho...

Karen said...

Happy Birthday Rima! x
The paintings are wonderful!

Anita said...

Rima dear, I have been peeking into your world for some time now. Drawn in first by my love of your art. I love the complex simplicity of your folk. But over time I have loved coming along on your most delightful adventure with Tui. I lived in a converted 1946 schoolbus when I was in my early twenties in the Oregon (USA) woods. I am reminded of my 30th birthday. It was the only birthday that broke my heart. I thought I was leaving my, much coveted, youth behind me. But, in fact, I began to become younger as the years flew by...Soon I will be 55 and I feel so excited and look forward with anticipation to be able to set those numbers next to my name. 55
55 55 55 55.....So I wish you a very happy 30th year, most lovely one.

The Earl of Grey said...

Cats started meowing and fighting and playing outside my window just as I started to type. They would obviously like to say hullo to you as well. So happy birthday, from me and the cats who own my neighbourhood.

GretchenJoanna said...

Anita? I linked to your blog from here, and wanted to leave a comment there, but the comment format won't work for me. If you could change it to pop-up, more of us could communicate. I hope you see this.

Jo James said...

Happy Birthday, dear Rima.
Welcome to your third decade. 3 is always a magical number. May your years be blessed. ♥

laoi gaul~williams said...

firstly~a belated happy birthday to you...your little party looked wonderful!

i loved to see those painting~to me the image became wiser as the years rolled by~beautiful!

Melanie said...

Happy Birthday Rima. It sounded like you had a wonderful day with a little taste from home too.

Nancy said...

Happy Birthday! The portrait is so lovely and I agree with the scrubbiness. 30 is a wonderful new gate to walk through leading to a path full of nooks and crannies of life. How exciting that the roads you have chosen have led you to such an exciting new one.

The cake looked delicious.

Have a joyous day

Tongue Trip said...

belated happy birthday if im late. your paintings are just as ethereal as you are. when i want to experience beauty from close, i come here and everytime i leave with a loadful of good feelings. i was having an awful day and was fretting over the unnecessary but coming here was so healing. :)

Realfaery said...

Hi Rima, just wishing a happy birthday and happy life!! I love your portrait...you are such a great artist!

Michelle (Shell) May said...

Happy Birthday Rima. Many blessings, much light, much happiness and much creativity awaits you on this next leg of your journey. So true the saying that it is not the destination, but the journey. Many happy trails to you.
bunny hugs,
shell

Lisa Falzon said...

Your portrait is so captivating.. I love how your gaze stays the same through all your ages, but somehow the last one is the very sweetest.

I myself feel strange about aging, and found your words quite inspiring. :)

Happy 30! :)

Liz.Photo said...

Your portrait is amazing.Extraordinary work. You are a beautiful painter. Thanks for all the enlighteneing, talented posts.

Rima said...

Gosh thanks all for such kind wishes on my third decade!

To answer Julie Bouésso's question about whether one can learn to paint.. I would say undoubtedly! You can be taught, so long as you have a good teacher, and of course you must have a real keenness for it to keep you striving! I think there is certainly an element of aptitude too, which must be honed.

Sending hellos from our dartmoor field :)

Rusted Wings said...

Your lovely portrait is softening and mellowing with age, like good wine....beautiful lady with a deep heart, lover of the beautiful. we share the same birth month.
birthday blessings Rima~
abigail

Stranger said...

Your paintings are indeed superb, and wonder if the emotion therein is imagined or real. The portrait at 18 suggests a hint of fear, at 24 a kind of defiance, but at 30 a sort of sadness. Perhaps it's mere projection, but isn't that what art is all about? :-)

Ben Hatke said...

Beautifully done, Rima. Particularly the lips and nose and corner-of-mouth (the difficult bits). I've never done a self portrait, but you've got me thinking about giving it a shot.

Oh and many happy returns!

Ulla said...

Birthday Blessings Rima! What a delight to see your portraits through the years. They show such depth and yes - inner beauty! I adore your latest, with its family of beings... Your eyes look at us with such knowing intensity and that slight lift in your cheek harks at inner secrets. You, my gypsy maven, truly are in inspiration to us all!
Hugs and kisses
Ulla

karen (me-shell) said...

happy birthday!!! the self portrait is magically wonderful :)

einbildungskraft said...

a beautiful portrait. GS would be proud of you.

Lesley said...

Happy birthday Rima, you bring so much happiness and joy to so many people. Here's to your next decade!

Marie Antionette said...

I'm breathless,and you are beautiful.XXOO Marie Antionette

James Mayhew said...

Dear Rima

I am completely bowled over by your fantastic site and your warm, intimate, beautiful paintings. So many of the artists I love are linked here, it seems we have much in common. It feels such a privilege to see all these things, a treasure trove of word and image. Your work was recommended by a follower of my blog (http://jamesmayhew-katiespictureshow.blogspot.com/) called Griffin. I am sure I will visit often and congratulate you on your wonderful work!

James Mayhew

Katalin Koos said...

Happy belated birthday! I love your blog and your work is stunning!
It's nice to know we both born in September and I think being in the 30s is the best decade so far :)
Thank you for sharing your portraits and how they evolved over the years. Woderful work!

Mokihana and Pete said...

And on top of all those many wishes, we add ours. From the vardo here in woods, we send birthday wishes for continuing creative times and thank you for the light you carry.

Hauoli la hanau, fair vardo woman.

Mokihana and Pete

Linda Byrd said...

Just beautiful. And what a lovely way to welcome the rest of your life. Happy birthday, Rima.

magnoliaamber said...

Happy birthday, the stunning wanderers..

Anne-Marie said...

Dear Rima, this is VERY belated - but happy birthday any way. Congratulations on reaching your third decade. I am seven years in to my thirties and it has been with out doubt the best period of my life so far. May it be so for you too.
Arohanui from New Zealand.

Royboy said...

Rima - just adding on to the many words of appreciation already here ...

thank you for sharing the magical view through your eyes and your words - its a delight!

and a perspective from the realm of "precision" that in fact you've now already completed your 3rd decade and are beginning your 4th!

... perhaps older than you think ...

Yoli said...

A belated Happy Birthday and all of this because my bloglines did not update. Rima, these self portraits are expectacular, you have outdone yourself.

Jericho said...

Great work rima! i can see the improvement of your work as you grow...

:)

Pom Pom said...

Beautiful. Blessed birthday to you, good painter.
I love Vincent. His work speaks to my colored heart.
I think you will find the fourth decade full of light and promise.

Curious Art said...

Much belated birthday wishes! Your self portrait is intense & beautiful. The subtle shading around the eyes & the garment faces are my favorite bits...

Happy travels!

The Clever Pup said...

Hi Rima,

I hope you had a splendid birthday.

I have the same 500 portraits book. Very telling, isn't it. So interesting. I have to say that your most recent portrait reminds me strongly of the Gwen John. It must be the way your hair is off your forehead. You are a true artist. Congratulations.

Sarah said...

Happy very very late birthday. Lovely to celebrate with a fire in the woods. Your self portraits are beautiful. I love the faces in the last one and the soft way you have painted your self. You are so talented.

allison j. sebastian said...

gorgeous portrait!
I am glad you are with us in this world.

Sonu Kumawat said...

Receive my congratulations,dear Rima, from Southern Spain!!Love,Sonu.

Amanda said...

Stunning progression. Almost feels like you are more within this latest portrait if that makes any sense at all (coming from someone who as never met you).

Sounds like you had a lovely birthday! I've also found age has begun to disintegrate as I grow older. And when I had my son, I suddenly realized we should really be celebrating our mothers rather than ourselves on our birthdays. My mother and I have begun a tradition of shared appreciation and it feels good.

So, happy birthday to you, Rima....and blessings to your mother!

ruthie said...

a very belated but happiest of wishes for your birthday dear Rima ( i thought i had left a msg, humph, gettin forgetful i am ;-) - from another september birthday lass from over the hills. a self portrait is a wonderful thing to do, all that looking and thinkng & discovering. beautiful finished piece, it glows from within & speaks volumes of the so lovely person that you are x x happy autumn wishes x x x

Damien. said...

Happy Birthday Rima. Looking through your portraits (which are very good), you seem to be getting younger rather than older!!! I'm slowly approaching forty, but I remember 30 well, it was great, I really felt both my inner and outer strength starting to come into their own. I wish you and Tui a great year as well. x. Damien.

herhimnbryn said...

Your portraits are stunning Lady R.
H
A
P
P
Y

B
I
R
T
H
D
A
Y

A mere baby that you are! I reached my half century on the 1/10

Kari Lønning said...

I thought I had made a comment about your portraits, but I must have been led away from your page by a link or two or more. The young woman is growing and changing inside those faces. I love what you do, be that the art applied to a surface, or the talk about drawing up on a tree's platform, and having tea there ... or hearing of your travels. and seeing the environment you and Tui have created for yourselves. I'm very pleased to have almost met you.
Kari

Natalya said...

happy birthday! how talented you are... i look forward to seeing your self portrait in another 30 years a day before you are 60.. what a beauty you shall be.

Chris said...

Rima, A wonderful self portrait to celebrate a new chapter of your life. Travel softly into your thirties. The best is yet to come.

Lydia said...

What a spectacular face you have and the most glorious self-portrait here! May your 30s be a wonderful decade (they were for me, but 40s were even better!).

James said...

First off Many happy returns, like the portraite, very compitent piece, you should do more, I really like your lost in the mists of time style, everything has atmosphere and a mystic feel, well done

BT said...

Rima, you are so beautiful, more so now than at 18 or so. I felt wonderful in my 30s, my very favourite decade. Love it and enjoy it. Your talent abounds.