This all began when I saw a white mask in the art shop. I love how it is moulded to look like a face and yet it is nothing but plastic, no inner feeling or emotion… so alien in a way to what I love so much about painting people. It got me thinking, so much so in fact that I had to go back into the store and buy one.
I began to think about the idea of self analysis. Self analysis or assessment is, in essence a process by which you find out about yourself -- what you like, what you don't like, and how you tend to react to certain situations, what influences you to think and behave the way you do.
What image do you portray to others? Are you so used to depicting an image of who you think people want you to be that you have lost the essence of your true self? Have you worn the mask for so long that when you do take it off there is nothing underneath but a hollow shell? Are you ashamed of who you appear to be or who you really are so much so that you have difficulty looking at yourself? These questions were too emotionally charged not to try to put across in a painting.
I wanted to play with this ‘mask’ idea, what is the mask and what is the real you? Is the real you the mask? What is left when you take off the mask of outward appearance? Anything or just an empty shell? It’s so good to just suspend disbelief on occasions and let creativity flow onto the paper. So instead of a person looking at the mask I thought why not have the mask looking at the person… but who is the mask and who is the person?
I’m only at the very early stages with this. The background is mostly done and the white mask is slowly appearing but there is still a lot left to do. I'm pleased with how the background is drawing the eye downwards in the direction of the hand and face. I so enjoy planning and creating the background to add atmosphere to the painting.
I'll keep you posted on my progress.