Symbolism: A Journey into Self Portraits

Artist in Residency Playful Project Self Portrait

Andrea Naylor Self Portraits Painter Chicago Door County Miami

Andrea Naylor Self Portrait The Playful Project Miami Florida Vero Beach South Florida Key West

Week 5 into my “Playful Project” and this week was full of wild, unbridled creativity! I continued both my daily self portraits this week as well as continued a collaborative approach to working with my children in my studio- and I noticed that this method of “work-ing” spring-boarded some incredible energy into my larger works. These “larger works” that I've been working so passionately on, I've only shown in person to a small number of people. This week has me considering my life impact on those around me, I'm thinking about how I want to share these pieces, and I wake up excited to work on this project every morning.

After working on a series of portraits of my family members a few weeks back, I started to look closely at their faces, their features, their clothing, any interesting objects within the reference photograph that caught my eye. As I shared before, these portraits led to connecting with several family members who are still alive which led to an immense amount of story-telling! I learned about favorite colors, amazing stories, and most importantly more background into each of these family members life stories. This of course led me into researching cultures and customs and religious beliefs that might have impacted their decision-making and opinions they held at that time. It was deeply personal learning all of this and had a big impact on what details I started to choose to include in my paintings.

These family portraits led me to start a self-portrait series where I paint a portrait a day of myself while looking in the mirror- keeping the current moon cycle in mind while I am painting as a way to consciously connect with the earth around me on that day. I use colors to convey my emotions or thoughts in that moment and more recently I've been incorporating symbols and patterns that have a deeper meaning for me based on my heritage and family history. These include: animals, fruit, insects, trees, etc. I also have loved observing what patterns I see in nature that day as well. It's been a powerful experience to be able to flip back through a daily record of painting my face over the last few weeks!

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