Saturday, December 31, 2011

21 Years of Self-portraits

Kate Kern Mundie, Self-portrait with Tools and Ironing Board (age 37), charcoal on paper, 14  x 18 inches

The new year is a time of reflection, where you have been and where you want to go. I think of self-portraits as a tool for reflection.

The Self-portrait with Tools and Ironing Board  captures my feeling about 2011. 2011 was chaotic and messy as I tried to work full-time while preparing for an art exhibition,and also while trying to keep up with the house and be a good wife and mother. I felt tired and unprepared for each day. I never felt like I could complete each task to satisfaction and was always torn between responsibility and what I wanted to do.

Kate Kern Mundie, Self-portrait at 16 Years,
oil pastel on paper.
Over the years I have documented my own life in self-portraits. In my teen years I drew myself continuously. It was partly as a way to learn the human form, but also a teenager's self obsession.

Kate Kern Mundie, Self-portrait at 19, oil on board, 12 x 14 inches
I did several self-portraits in college but the one above is the only one that survives.

Kate Kern Mundie, I'm Ready (Self-portrait at 30), oil on paper, 18 x 24 inches
I'm Ready was painted shortly after I turned 30 and had decided to leave teaching and non-profit work in favor of a steady-paying full-time job. I did this painting while in the midst of a job search. A few weeks after painting this I got my job at the engineering firm where I still work. It was one of the best moves I have made.

Kate Kern Mundie, Self-portrait at 33, pastel on paper,
20 x 24 inches
Kate Kern Mundie, Self-portrait at 34 and Pregnant, graphite on paper, 14 x 18 inches
The nude self-portrait was drawn around the time we decided to try for kids. Making the decision to have children can be daunting for any couple but especially for artists. Children can mean an end to any art making, yet we continue to struggle against that possibility.

2012 will be another busy year as we balance family, work, art, and anything else that comes our way. 

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