Xiaochen Zheng


Class of: 2022

Major: Illustration BFA

Medium: Acrylic painting on canvas

Faculty: Tamar Samir

Prompt: This assignment ask us to find inspiration from a piece of self-portrait art work in museum and create a new piece of self-portrait containing our understanding about ourself and the relationship with the original referenced piece of art work.

I chose an art piece from a female artist Paula Modersohn-Becker called “Self-Portrait with Two Flowers in Her Raised Left Hand”. In this piece, the artist portrait her upper body from head to upper breast. She was pregnant and have two flowers in her hand. Besides knowing she its the first woman who drew themselves during pregnancy, my focus of this painting is more on two flowers. I got my inspiration from the flower and began to create my way in interpreting my personality by using flower. I didn’t copy the vertical composition of Paula’s piece. In fact, to broaden the flower as the main part, I made my piece into a horizon composition. I picked foxgloves and pink tulips as two main flowers in my piece. Foxgloves on my right side represent the. part pf me with solitude attributes. However, the pink tulips represent my eagerness in making friends and being united. The conflict of two flowers create a slight contradiction of my way in contacting with the exterior world. Even the flowers represent the differences, the colors still remain the same. Which means, no matter how I am, I am still being myself — the combination of two conflicted attributes. I am really appreciate that Paula’s art piece utilized fauvism and German expressionism ways of drawing. The color she used to portrait the face and the contour is bold and flexible. Rather than a smooth transition of color, she create blocks of colors to form a face. I tried her way as well too learn about using bold colors for face. As a result, I painted my nose into purple and combining all types of colors on my face.