16 January 2009

First Art Lesson: Self-Portrait in Graphite

My first art lesson was in 2007, when I took a drawing class taught by Raul Espinoza at a local junior college. Raul is a gifted teacher and artist, and I learned from him that I might actually have some aptitude for drawing. I drew this allegorical self-portrait in his class. The camera and magnifying glass represent the visual world (photography being my primary form of self expression up to that point). The photos of family scenes were taken with that camera by my father. In one, my 2 older sisters and I share some ice cream on a summer day when I was about 18 months old in Seattle, Washington. Another photo of me (under the magnifying glass in front) was shot in Golden Gate Park with my first Brownie camera.

In composing this piece I paid special attention to balancing the negative spaces in the corners. I’m sure an experienced artist would find lots to improve, but I was happy with this early effort. I learned what I could from Raul, and quickly realized that the intensive artistic training I wanted was not available at the junior college level. In January 2008, shortly after finishing this piece, I began classes at the Watts Atelier.

Always There 2007, graphite on bristol board, 10 x 13

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