Self-Portrait in Spring

Self-Portrait in Spring, paper collage, 2022

As I was preparing to post this collage and another one (which I’ve decided to publish at a later date, alongside a poem, methinks), I remembered that I made another Self-Portrait in Spring at this time last year.

And how different it looks. I daresay, how far I’ve come in a year. In my collage practice, anyway. Indeed, I’ve dedicated a great deal of time to developing style and improving technique over the past year, on trying to develop a kind of identity as an artist.

And I have a tendency–especially when I become consumed by a project or a goal like this one–not to look back. Not to revisit my earliest collages and remember how much fun I had making them. How freeing it often is to feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. Or to stop and take time to appreciate the progress I’ve made.

Self-Portrait in Spring, paper collage, 2021

If I am to be transparent, I sometimes refuse to look back at previous work (poetry, prose, or collage) because I feel uncomfortable about it. That is, it makes me flinch. Makes me feel a bit embarrassed, a bit like I don’t even want to look! I can’t believe I made (or said) that! But those feelings, I think, are a natural part of dealing with creativity. And of learning not to be too hard on ourselves. And they should be treated as such.

So, in this post, I thought I’d put forward a gentle reminder that it’s not only acceptable, but also necessary to look back, to take the time to reflect on our hard work, and congratulate ourselves for our accomplishments. I still like last year’s Self-Portrait in Spring, by the way. I had fun making it. And while this year’s looks very different, I think it is worth mentioning that I still have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to collage. And I I think I’d like to keep it that way.


Prints for the 2022 Self-Portrait in Spring are available in my Etsy shop.

21 responses to “Self-Portrait in Spring”

  1. A refreshing and honest look at creativity and personal growth. I don’t look back too often either – probably because we are too busy moving forward. We should pause, revisit, and reflect every now and then and celebrate what we have accomplished and our courage to share. ✨ Great post! I enjoyed your work then and now.

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  2. That is indeed such a good reminder. It’s difficult for me to look at things I’ve written or created in the past without being a little critical of it. But it’s always a good thing to see where you were and where you are today. And actually, I really like both collages’. 🙂 They are unique and special in their own way. Well done.

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    • Thank you, my friend. The main difference between the two collages, for me, is personal style. In last year’s, I was still very much mimicking what I saw elsewhere and trying to figure out what my style was. In this year’s, I can say, “That is my style.” It’s still evolving (as it always will be), but it feels very much mine. I’m happy you enjoyed the post. 🙂

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  3. Loving your end notes on the importance of stepping back and revisiting our old work as a way to experience more fully how we have changed and progressed!

    I feel you on flinching when viewing work we no longer think of as our best, but it is also amazing to suddenly see how we have grown. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I would like to refer to the tension you create in your collages throughout their composition, to your astonishing economy of means, to the ecstatic expression in the framing, to the perfection in the treatment of colors, to the harsh contrasts, but most of all to the openness towards waiting that you leave planted in the spectator: the feeling that something will happen after what is shown in the work, that the surprising is about to manifest itself…

    A plus tard, L. Je vais faire une plongée de nuit. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This question about looking back and feel embarrassed about, or even try to undo or get rid of stuff we did in the past is a very common thing, but it is also part of growing that we overcome these feelings, and necessary. I really liked your post. I think you’ve come far in your goals, very positively, or so it seems. Congratulations.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, yes. I do know quiet well what you mean. It’s a fierceful fight that needs to be encountered. Either that or die, creatively speaking at least. There’s something I understood very recently, which is the fact that we should not take ourselves too seriously. And it’s a serious thing to say that.

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