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Thought stirring 
14th-Mar-2006 11:19 pm
Tea addict
Imagery can be both focusing and healing, a wonderful reminder of things which comfort us, or of our inner strength. Inspired by some of last week's answers, this week's question is about how you view yourself.

A few of you mentioned a self-portrait, or a picture of yourself as things you focus on to get you through. Images such as these can remind us of where we've been, how much we've grown, what we loved and what we didn't, and what things about ourselves that we cherish.

So this week's question is:
If you were to paint a self-portrait, or get to arrange a photo of yourself, what would you include? What would be important to you to have with you in that portrait? If you were painting, what colors would you use? Would you have friends, family, or even animals with you? If you had no limit, what would have to be a part of that portrait?

Bonus question: Why would you choose those things?

For me, a self-portrait would need to have a few things - me out in nature, preferably with an animal or two hanging out (Bear, Crow, Wolf, etc.). Colors that would be important to me are reds, mixed in with black and white shading. I'd also like to be wearing something to remind me of my grandfather and my friend-family... probably some more wolf imagery, or maybe a good picture of my grandfather - or even having the Ukrainian flag in the background (I'm 1/4 Ukrainian, from L'Vov)

Why would I chose those? I feel most connected, the safest, and all around just *capable* of anything when I'm out in nature. Especially in the company of animals, it just feels like I fit, I belong. Out in nature it's okay to cry whenever you feel down, and to skip through the fields chasing butterflies when you feel bouncy. The colors for me are significant because they are colors I associate with strength, love, and my connection to other women and survivors. As for my grandfather, well, he was my saviour and hero, and my friend-family has proven to me that I can create a life I love and fill that sense of emptiness on the really bad days just by thinking of them. And for the Ukrainian flag, well, it's tough. I have so many associations with my grandfather and the Ukraine (he is my Ukrainian blood) - his view of his homeland as being honorable and brave and beautiful... it's just something that comforts me, makes me feel connected and strong and able. Also, the flag represents the blue sky over the fields of Ukraine (blue on gold)... which reminds me of being outdoors and all the good things that brings up

So, feel free to answer or not to answer. Remember, these questions are for you, to help think of how to get through the hard times, how to progress through your journey. The important thing is not what writing comes of these, but what comfort does.

You have all done a fantastic job with this over the last couple months. So frickin' proud to be a part of you as a community.
14th-Mar-2006 09:01 pm (UTC)
My portrait would be painted in rich blues and greens. I would be surrounded by cats and the wonderful people that I consider to be my real family (although none are blood relations to me) that have gotten me through the last few months. I'd have lots of books in it too and musical imagery and of course my computer. It would have hills and fields and forests and shoreline and even a bit of city for the background. And I would be wrapped up in a crocheted blanket. I'd also have a flag of the state of Indiana.

Blues and greens are comfort colours to me. They symbolise the sea and the earth and my connection with them. My cats have always comforted me even when no human being could. I can't imagine a world without my feline friends nor can I think of many things more comforting than to lay with a cat on your stomach. The people are self explanitory. They are my family in it's truest sense. They've taught me things I forgot like what it is to be loved unconditionally and be cared for. Books and music have gotten me through some very tough times. When I'm feeling overwhelmed by the 'real world' I still like to lose myself in a good book. And music has comforted me in the worst times of my life and also reminds me of many of the best. I wouldn't be where I am today without my computer because I feel I would not have left my abusive situation if I had not been communicating over the Internet. Also the people that I mentioned, I either know them online soley or have met them through the Internet. I'd have the landscapes because those are the landscapes I've fallen in love with. The landscapes of Indiana and now Michigan. I am far geograpically from where I began. I'd have the crocheted blanket because I find blankets comforting and that's my favourite kind. And the flag would represent Indiana, my adopted home state.
15th-Mar-2006 07:31 am (UTC)
:) beautiful.

thank you for sharing!
15th-Mar-2006 02:08 am (UTC)
I draw. But I still have a problem having to do an actual self-portrait. If I were to do one though and if I had the extended artistic ability to paint, I would have earth-toned colors because I'm downtoearth, yet I'd have red spurts somewhere in the portrait because red for me signifies both the death of myself (blood) internally from the experience but also to show that now I'm alive and I want others to see that (bc red really captures your attention).

I wouldn't have anyone or anything but just my face and I would definitely focus on the eyes because I think that's the most captivating element in a person's face that can reveal/hide so much from the world. I wouldn't have anyone because I don't easily attach to things/people and I also want to claim myself as an individual even though we're basically products of society. I like reading people and but I myself don't want to be read by others so my facial expression would be neutral because I don't want others to know what I'm thinking/feeling.
15th-Mar-2006 07:34 am (UTC)
Something seemingly so simple, I think would be very powerful - what a great image.

Thanks for sharing!
15th-Mar-2006 04:53 am (UTC)
I have no idea how would I make my portrait, but I just wanted to comment on your choice of the Ukrainian flag. I'm Ukrainian, too, with some Estonian mixed in on my mother's side; I was born in Kharkov and lived there until I was 10, then my family moved to Israel. I love the Ukrainian flag; it looks so nice and free, and peaceful, and it's inspired by nature - the yellow for wheat fields, the blue for the sky - so I just love it.
15th-Mar-2006 07:36 am (UTC)
Right on, another Ukrainian! Yeah... the flag is just so simple, but so beautiful and peaceful :)
15th-Mar-2006 05:18 pm (UTC)
Cool question!... I actually did a selfportrait a few years ago and I don't think I'd change it much from what I did then. It was a simple sketch of myself (shoulders-up and neutral expression because I don't like to accentuate my sexuality in any way and don't like others to see what I'm thinking). It was just me by myself because I think of myself as more solitary. Then I did a different abstract border around each side of the picture: one was like ripples of dark water symbolizing what is always going on under the surface, one was a flame design for my temper/passion about certain issues, one was a root design because of how tied I am to my family and things in the past, and one was a leaf design because I feel really close to nature. I think its a pretty accurate assessment of myself and putting it down on paper sort of made it easier to accept both the good and bad sides to my personality and past. It's not really a picture I take out and look at very often, but it's meaningful.
16th-Mar-2006 09:13 am (UTC)
:) Sounds like a great self-portrait.. and like you said, a great way to acknowledge all parts of ourselves.

I like the imagery of the ripples... that is really resonating with me today for some reason.

Thanks so much for sharing that with us :)
15th-Mar-2006 08:32 pm (UTC)

The picture in the back is a painting of the closest thing I've had to home in a while.

The dog's my suffed animal Shelly; a sign of self-sufficency, self-protection and love.

The picture on the right is the most recent self portrait I've done.

The one to the left is one I did at a darker time; it's more about the truth behind the image that gets projected.

The dwarf is a character I play in a D&D game. She's a druid who goes around beating up people who hurt the forest by smacking them around with a club. She's the inner "fuck 'em" I've found recently. Her story isn't happy, but it's given her the strength and certainty to know what she is, and that she's a part of everything around her. Yes, the image of my sense of connectedness kills people as her calling.

16th-Mar-2006 09:16 am (UTC)
I like that... it's a great mix of the different pieces of you. And that dwarf looks awesome :) Sometimes, our connectedness parts have the most boundaries - and that's okay :)
15th-Mar-2006 08:36 pm (UTC)
This is a hard one. I started thinking about this when _ohgirl asked for volunteers for her project. The only thing I can come up with is that of course I would wear my boots. Perhaps I would also show my tattoo, though I’m not sure how I would do that and still be able to display my boots effectively. I don’t know what I might have around me. A thorny hedge made of wild roses perhaps. I could also have knives with me, though doing so could also send the wrong message unless it was done right.

Definately have to think on this one some more.
16th-Mar-2006 09:58 am (UTC)
:) Yeah... it's tough... maybe with a abstract painting sort of portrait you'd be able to incorporate it more

I like the imagery... the boots are something I can identify with... same with the thorns :)

Thanks for sharing, I know this one was a bit tricky to answer, so thanks
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