Thursday, September 8, 2011

Harry Kent drawings of self

self portrait, ink and acrylic on paper, 84x60cm

Have been rather poorly over the last two weeks - lots of coughing, no voice for 12 days! ... and no painting. A disaster of a semester so far.

self portrait, ink and acrylic on paper, 84x60cm

So to have something to blog i trawled through my drawings of a few years ago when i first started exploring expressive self portraiture.

self portrait, charcoal and acrylic on paper, 84x60cm

I would look into a mirror positioned beside a large sheet of white paper, look at the paper, look at the mirror, look at the paper, turn on the spot in agitated small circles, back to looking at blank paper, mirror, paper.

Then, still looking into the mirror, make a sudden desperate attack on the paper with gestural marks. These were almost blind contour drawings because my fixation was on the mirror rather than on the paper.

It was all over in a couple of minutes. It was the agitated small circles that took all time! 

self portrait while drawing, charcoal and pastel on paper, 84x60cm

Hopefully i'll be back in the studio producing new work soon ... dancing my little circles of angst.


  1. So sorry you've not been 100% lately. Hope the change in weather may help - or maybe less turning in circles and more sitting in one place contemplating the navel (that's what I'm going to do!). These are all wonderful works of art - such beauty in simple and not-so-simple lines!! Best of health to you very very soon :)

  2. I hope you feel better soon. It sounds like a miserable cold or whatever it is.

    I have to say something that is always often heard said of my self-portraits: You are very hard on yourself. I'm sure you have heard it before. i know I rolls my eyes when I hear it.

    I think I see every little wrinkle and bulge and just can't edit. I just think I'm being honest about recording what I see. I have to paint myself as I see myself. And you…?

  3. Harry, I hope you feel better soon...I love all these portraits. Thanks for re-posting them. They are all so expressive!

  4. These are wonderful, Harry; I love the first one. When I saw it on my sidebar I thought,
    "Great, Harry's back." Be well.

  5. Hello Harry,
    I was beginning to wonder if you were ill, as opposed to being swamped with class work. It hurts to learn my suspicions were correct.
    I know you're doing everything required to feel chipper as soon as possible, so no sage advice from here.
    And Harry, even in a somewhat diminished capacity, your blog makes my day. I haven't seen several of these images and, as usual, I'm blown away at your creative genius.
    Best Wishes,

  6. I hope you are back in full swing soon, Harry. I recommend a holiday in Cairns!

  7. Ugh. You poor guy. Hope you're on the mend soon. Excellent drawings - lots of expression. Especially love that first one.

  8. Hope you're feeling better and that your semester soon recovers from its dismal beginnings. These are wonderful works, Harry - the first two made me think "tears of a clown" and the next ones reminded me of the 19th century literary tradition of the superfluous or underground man, solitary, vague, defiant and brooding. Thanks for sharing them, and also describing the technique used - these insights into individual creative processes are so fascinating! Be well, my friend.

  9. Thanks everybody for the comments. I have been quite unwell and wasn't up to blogging, so sorry that i haven't been able to reply. Give me a few more days and i will respond to each of your lovely comments individually.

    Needless to say, ive done zero painting for weeks now.

  10. It’s always a pleasure
    to see such a Wonderful Work
    good creations

  11. i have been looking through my paintings recently and realised that this year although not finished has resulted in me producing fewer paintings than previous years.... for a couple of reasons: firstly each painting is taking a lot longer to complete as i have certain expectations due to my own development; i have been destroying more paintings than ever before; and finally my day job has been rather intrusive on my normal routine... your post made m think of how life impacts on us in all sorts of ways and sometimes sends us off into the past to reflect on what we have painted over the years and perhaps rejected. now with new vision there is something sincere and honest in what we were trying to achieve: unembellished by our learning (imho). as a result of your reflection we had a chance to see these paintings and you have probably summoned up some new ideas. having said that, i do hope you are better soon. looking forward to seeing what you paint next. r.

  12. Glad to know you feel somewhat better. I was getting worried about you.

  13. Fantastic - naked visceral - hope you're feeling better my friend.

  14. Hi Rhonda. Sorry it's taken so long to respond. Thanks for the comment and the good wishes.

    Yes Davida, a pretty miserable chest infection. Haven't had one like that for decades. I try to paint an emotional truth. It may not be photo-reality. But then, cameras can do that so much better anyway.

    Hi Celeste. Yep, finally on feet again. Ready to start thinking about painting.

    Hi Hallie. Yes, hopefully i'm finally back! Phew.

    Gary, i'm afraid the degree work has taken a back seat for weeks now. Noting since June, virtually. What a waste of a semester and the uni fees that go with it! Thanks for the encouragement. I need it becuse i feel more tossing the whole thing in than starting a new painting.

    Cairns is sounding great Richard but I'll save it for our Tassie winter later in the year.

    Hi Kim. Thanks so much for the comment and welcome to my blog. Sorry it's taken so long for me resply.

    Gabriella, love that description of the 19th century brooder - yep, that's me!

    Hi Skizo. Always good to hear from you.

  15. Thanks for those thought-provoking observations, rahina. I guess it's as John Lennon said, "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans". I'm finding my expectations of my work are changing. With rising expectations comes less freedom. The work threatens to become more self-conscious and it's a struggle to find liberation and freshness. Maybe my best work has all been done.

  16. Thanks for your concern, Davida. Seems there's life in the old dog yet, lol.

  17. Hi Steppenwolf. Thanks for the encouragement.

    "Naked, visceral" ... so well fits your verse.

  18. Harry,
    sometimes we are led through life and its 'breaks' mandatory ...
    be aware of this, already makes us closer
    the 'normal' life; certainly it will recover soon!

    I enjoyed seeing these 'self portraits'
    you always put a lot of personality -
    it's like you know him personally ...
    and imagine your exercise with the mirror!

    a big hug!
    courage and patience...

  19. So wise, Denise. I certainly seem to be having a break. There is not much i have been able to do about it. I guess it's just a 'rhythm of life' thing. I guess i will start to paint and blog again soon, hopefully before Christmas. Big hug.

  20. Hi Harry
    Yes, it is rhythm; and it's also floating down stream and not going against the current of each day's offerings. Go "inside", meditate and follow the tide of your muse.


  21. Hi Steven. So true. There is a tide in the affairs of men. At the moment, my tide is out, but i'm not overly worried by that. I am confident it will flow in again and i will once again be able to enter the zone. Thanks for your wisdom.

  22. Harry, hope you are fine. I send you my best wishes for painting and for all... See you soon hopefully. Olivia.

  23. I like the first portrait very much, and have been looking at your fukushima series and I also find them really good

  24. Thanks for the good wishes, Olivia. Yes, my health is fine now, thank you. But my painting has ground to a halt. But just this week i have started work on a large landscape and hope that i will be re-energized once i'm into the thick of it.

  25. Welcome to my blog, Lucie. Thank you for the encouraging comments. I'm afraid i'm a long way short of the mastery of your stunning portaits, so it's very up-lifting that you should find anything of interest among my work. Warm greetings.