by Allison Dear.
This project is a culmination of my work at Duke. Previously, I have explored portraiture and floral paintings separately. Last semester, my capstone project began to combine those two themes with a self-portrait and floral elements in the background. This semester, I will make the connection between these two themes stronger and closer. To this end, I am painting a more abstracted piece that creates a smooth transition between the two subjects. I will be using an extreme close-up self-portrait in order to contribute to the abstraction. The self-portrait should not immediately be recognized as myself, but instead as an effective addition to the piece that contributes to the overall aesthetic.
My attraction to flowers and nature has long been documented in my work. The transient beauty of flowers draws me to capture them in a single moment. I find it fascinating that the photo I have taken of the flower, later translated into oil paint, is a unique image that will never exist again. I seek to immortalize flora in my paintings. Additionally, I enjoy experimenting with color, and the wide range of hues that flowers are found in give me an opportunity to do so. This piece plays with color more so than previous pieces. The portrait will be painted in hues of purple, pink, and blue, with a few orange highlights. This will complement the colors of the flowers I have selected to make up the rest of the painting. The flowers will be painted from reference photos that I have taken over the years, mostly when traveling. Each photo holds personal significance to me due to the memories they evoke. This, along with the self-portrait, makes this an individualized piece, continuing with a theme found in my previous works.
This piece combines two distinct subjects and creating a composition that seamless transitions from one genre (portraiture) to another (landscape) is one of the major challenges of this capstone project. The use of a common color palette aids in this, which is why I chose to paint the skin in unnatural tones that mimic the colors seen in the flowers. Additionally, the use of unnatural skin tones contributes to the overall abstraction of the piece, making is less of a realistic portrait and more of a self-expression.