Lynsey Douglas
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Contemporary Skin
These paintings were from my senior thesis project at Pacific NW College of Art. I was exploring beauty in relationship to the contemporary female nude by making nude self-portrait paintings. My main focus was on the aesthetics of the oil paintings and to render the figure as best I could, to make a figure painting that I found successful. In using the tradition of the female nude, I adapted poses from several historical paintings and composed a few myself. I wanted to be able to incorporate my tattoos into the paintings so they do not stand out. I was also using these paintings to comment on the current obsession in our culture with tattooing our bodies and how this does not affect the beauty of the nude figure.

20 April 2009
I started of with something simple: nude self-portraits. Me, bare naked.
When making art I try to let my intuition lead me. Then later my decisions become clearer. This has been my philosophy with art making for a while now. It is also, for the most part, my philosophy with getting a tattoo. If an image appeals to me for long enough (or strong enough) there must be a reason behind it. With this project I first wanted to make paintings about my tattoos through the venue of nude self portraits. I wanted to have words express what these tattoos meant to me, and how they were part of me, part of my identity. Through some idea tweaking and adjustments (and some tears) I came to the place I am at now. Straight forward nude self portraits. Reflecting on how this sequence of ideas came to result in these paintings I have realized that my paintings are me, they embody my personality. They quietly express my feelings about my tattoos and my body image, better than words could ever do. I am not always adequate at putting my thoughts into words or speaking those words out loud. I am shy. I am non-confrontational. My paintings reflect all these personality traits, they are reserved and don’t confront the viewer. The figures take their place in the paintings; they inhabit their space and don’t try to take over the frame.
The fact that they are nude isn’t something I would have expected from myself. Although it has been an idea in the back of my mind for a while now, pushing me towards making artwork of this kind. I find this strange because I am a fairly modest individual. This creates a push and pull of two sides of my personality. One side is the quiet, reserved little girl I have been for all these years, the other want to be bold and loud (and naked). The latter typically gets kept in check by the former.
These paintings aren’t perfect, just as I am not perfect. Those imperfections in the paintings affect me the same as an imperfection in my own real body. They are my “other” bodies, extensions of myself. The one that do try to be confident still have part of them that is weak and shows hesitance. I lack confidence in myself, therefore the figures in my paintings also have this lack of confidence.
I started out with something so simple. Me, bare naked. I didn’t consider the fact that I would be dragging all my baggage into them. But it makes sense. I am in some respects a rather self absorbed person, of course my paintings are all about me.