Yearly self-portrait au carré. 2019

Yearly self-portrait au carré. 2019. J.Harms.

Yearly self-portrait au carré. 2019. J.Harms.

Another year another portrait. This one is me sitting on my « carpet studio » looking at my reflexion in a mirror. At the back a glimpse of the window overlooking a cherry tree. My work as a decorative painter has been thriving, and sadly my paintings have been few and far between as a consequence. Three so far this year isn’t much. Yet there are so many things I need to paint.

 

Yearly self-portrait with noren. 2018

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Yearly self-portrait with noren. 2018. J. Harms. 29x39cm. Acrylic on red paper.

This year’s portrait was more difficult to paint than the previous years. I painted and discarded several before finally painting this one. Ten years ago, almost to the day, I left France to go to Japan, where I lived and worked for a year and a half.

It was a tough yet rewarding and meaningful experience. It was there that I found my artistic language among the many colors and lines of the cityscape of Nagasaki.

While living there, I got to witness traditional holidays, and seasonal events. I also visited craft shops, I began collecting art too, and sent home many things, like this noren, a detail of which I painted in the background. It now hangs in my bedroom.

Yearly self-portrait with a bird. 2016

Yearly self-portrait with a bird. 2016

Yearly self-portrait with a bird. 2016. J.Harms. 29x39cm. Acrylic on paper.

I year ago, I decided I would paint a portrait of myself once a year. One of my sisters, usually blunt in her honesty, pointed out that it looked like I had just come out of prison, (she was part right in noticing that something had come out of a cage, although it wasn’t me), while the other, more diplomatically, thought it rather interesting, and totally different from the previous self portrait. I was just happy both had immediately recognized me.

Yearly self-portrait 2015

Yearly self-portrait. 2015.

Yearly self-portrait 2015. J.Harms. Acrylic on red paper. 29×39 cm .

I decided to paint a portrait of myself once every year. I don’t exactly know why I decided to do this, but I think it’s an interesting idea. It reminds me, now that I think of it, of a family portrait a Chinese father and daughter posed for, once every year, at the exact same place, over decades. I remember reading this somewhere, and thinking that it was a great way to show the passage of time. Like a human still life. The French, refer to it as a “nature morte”, something that is in decay. How will I look like in a year ? In ten years ?  Will Time be generous or not.

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