Archives For self

It Figures…

Mary Liz Ingram —  July 31, 2013 — 2 Comments

“Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future…. A day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.” -Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey

Sometimes you just need a break… get away from it all, clear your head, breathe in life.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. He so sweetly surprised me by taking me on a long journey, far away to a Scottish resort.

Okay, really we dropped off our three kids at my parents’ house and drove 15 minutes to a lovely resort which felt very far away (and they did play bagpipes at sunset!). It was a fabulous 18 hours of relaxation and peace. We were both able to hang out in our respective spa areas for quite awhile and have a massage.

Now let me tell you something about Mary Liz and massages:

I’m a bit uptight. Massages stress me out a bit. I get nervous beforehand, and try my best, in my yammering stream of consciousness, to relax. But still…massages are lovely. Somewhere in between feeling awkward, wondering how many nasty feet the guy rubs a day, and finding my happy place, I began contemplating the human body: muscles, skin, shapes of calves…we people are pretty cool.

When we returned from our mini vacation, refreshed and ready to hug our tiny people, I felt inspired to do some figure drawing. 

Right down the road, there is a figure drawing class once a week in the evening. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work in my family schedule, so… I tried the next best thing. Home alone, kids asleep, I had to draw myself. I’m not a fan of pictures or drawings of myself, but you do what you gotta do to feed a whim.

So I present to you two self-portrait sketches, in graphite on paper.

Self portrait, graphite sketch

Self portrait, graphite sketch

Self portrait, graphite sketch

Self portrait, graphite sketch




“Let us go on talking about ourselves and our own particular little niche in life. The world is too vast a place.”The Colossus of Arcadia E. Phillips Oppenheim

Today I read a blog post by one of my fellow artists that encouraged the art of self portraiture. Hmm. Not something I do very often – ahem – I mean ever. I’m not a big fan of photos of myself, much less drawing my face.

But there is something fascinating about an artist’s self portrait. It is a window into their life, their thoughts, their persona reflected in their own creation. I browsed the web for self portraits and came across a Russian artist from the early 1900s with whom I was unacquainted.

Zinaida Serebriakova self portrait

Zinaida Serebriakova self portrait

One of the first Russian women to gain real fame in the art world, Zinaida Serebriakova painted images of her surroundings and the people in her country.  She valued life and beauty, worked in oils, charcoal and pastels. She was a wife, mother, daughter and experienced her share of tragedy during the revolution in 1917.  She began her successful art career as a young woman, and painted many beautiful self portraits that stand out to me because of her charm, her smile, her friendly, welcoming expression. The props and surroundings she chose give you a glimpse into her life: paints and brushes, her children, her dressing table with jewelry, perfumes and combs. I was fascinated by her. While most self portraits portray serious expressions, without hint of smiles, Serebriakova’s portraits intrigue me with her pleasant, almost mischievous grin.

I began thinking on my own self portrait. What would I include? What expression would I depict?

We all seek to be known. Continue Reading…