The varnish was getting very muddy from all the dry pastel dust and it was darkening everything on the paper. This could have been very frustrating if I held onto my initial desire to capture the paleness of my Winter face. I was painting this live from my reflection on my phone screen. Before adding the varnish, the face was focused on pale colours and I hadn’t noticed the expression of frustration I was making. I was frustrated because my phone kept sliding and moving. I couldn’t grasp the lines fast enough.

When I started adding the varnish and realized it was hopeless to try and retain the pale colours, I felt more frustration and concern at what this new face would be saying. It no longer looked like me and I started to wonder what cultural traits or styles I was subconsciously appropriating. This old discussion in my head ( and in many classes) was futile. my style is based on decades of loving all sorts of art. PERIOD!

When the varnish dried it revealed the frustrations I felt throughout the process. It felt authentic and alive with emotion. It also reminded me of another aesthetic theory I’m passionate about: Wabi-Sabi. The imperfections in this painting, whatever they may be, delivered a beauty of expression.

Subject: Stylized self-portraits based on selfies.

Materials: watercolour paper, dry pastels, white-tinted acrylic varnish

Dimensions: 8.5ā€ (21.6cm) x 5.5ā€ (14cm)

Prints & more available at Arts MPerron @


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