What a prospect! I have been painting "portraits in absentia" for over 5 years - they are illuminations of people, real or imagined, using objects or their own belongings - to tell stories in paint about their lives, journeys, and selves.
And now I was asked to turn this eye on myself. How to choose objects that reveal something about my true self - my story and my thoughts? What to reveal and what not to reveal?
The painting that emerged, "Self Portrait in Absentia," was a revelatory journey. I selected objects that "show" an aspect of me (my beloved red lipstick), some objects with deep personal meaning (my father's palette knife), and I included postcards of art that resonate profoundly with me.
And I decided to "invent" two books I wish existed -- whose subjects are ideas and values I cherish.
This painting has opened up worlds of enticing new ideas to explore and encounter in future paintings. Here's to chance encounters.....
"Self-Portrait in Absentia," oil in linen, 24x36"
By Elizabeth Barlow
New Museum Los Gatos
"More Than Your Selfie", exhibition
Jan 21-May 15, 2016