A Study in Selfies


LEFT Ted Burn appreciates the marketing side of a fine-arts career better than most. The foundation for his current success as a painter and portrait artist was laid during his 30-year career as a graphic designer and illustrator at major advertising agencies in San Francisco and Atlanta. Website

RIGHT Artist Mary Rodning says, “A trail has been left in my heart by painting with wet soot on mulberry pulp through two years in Japan and two months in China, which will follow me my entire life … practicing and painting the art of life while living it.” Website


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LEFT Ainsley McNeely’s acrylic self-portrait reflects a time in her life when “I seemed to spend much of my life on the road. I was working full-time, painting and going to college. It seemed like I always had to hurry somewhere else.” Website

RIGHT Conroy Hudlow was a graduate student at Tulane in 1963 when he created this ink/wash self-portrait.  “We all had to do a basic drawing course based heavily on gesture and blind contour drawing (looking at the model, not the paper when drawing).  This was a half-blind contour done with a sharpened piece of bamboo on German Copperplate paper. The contours were done with the bamboo pen; the ink wash was thrown over that.” Website


LEFT Derald Eastman’s participation in Kansas University’s first summer art camp for high school seniors in 1952 led to his enrollment at KU a year later, on a scholarship. He painted the oil self-portrait here as a freshman. He sums up his personal style as “a colorful impressionistic approach to realism, ” in which he leans toward “suggesting detail, rather than rendering it.” Website

RIGHT Local painter Amanda Youngblood takes joy in rendering the faces of her friends and family in her striking, realistic style. Here, she portrays her friend and fellow University of South Alabama art grad, Evelyn Bradford. Website


LEFT Larry Horn is a native Mobilian now living in Pensacola. He typically works in pastels, and rarely  focuses on portraits so this charcoal rendering of himself is a rarity for Horn. “Ninety percent of the art I have produced has been pastel scenes of Northwest Florida and South Alabama waterways, ” says the canoeing enthusiast.

RIGHT Kate Seawell’s mixed media monotype print is from a series of self-portraits that she refers to as totems. The monotyping process starts as a painting on a metal plate. It is sent through an etching press, producing a one-of-a-kind print. “The artist has to be able to conceptualize backwards, since the image comes out in reverse, ” says Seawell. “I used a number of different plates to make prints and collaged them together to create this piece.” Website

ABOVE AND BELOW Rich Touart, a military brat, narrowly missed being born in Morocco, but has lived all over the world. He moved to Mobile with his family in the 60’s, and was an art major in print making and sculpture at University of South Alabama where he met his future wife, Lynda Smith Touart, who created this portrait. Rich is mostly involved with digital photography manipulation and video, as well as making art of everyday situations.  He chooses not to show his work except occasionally on social media. It’s fitting that Lynda’s acrylic portrait of Rich is paired with her black ink on white paper self-portrait (below): they’ve been married since ’74, and her blending of B&W and color imagery has long been a hallmark of her local art exhibitions. Website


LEFT Benita McNider painted this oil on canvas portrait of fellow artist (and former two-term president of Bay Rivers Art Guild) Valley O’Neal. Another of McNider’s portraits is included in the Oil Painters of America’s 1st Annual Salon Show in Petroskey, MI.

RIGHT Amanda Youngblood’s self-portrait (like nearly all of her work) is an oil on birch wood painting based on a photograph that she shot. These days her commissioned portraits are as likely to be dogs as people. Website


LEFT Ainsley McNeely created this watercolor portrait of Miro, a Slovak artist who was sent to Mobile as part of an artist exchange with Slovakia. McNeely was one of the three artists sent to Slovakia for a month prior to the artists’ arrival in Mobile. “He is a quiet retiring man, a true gentle giant.” Website

RIGHT McNeely also created this pastel portrait on handmade paper of Paco Young, a wonderful artist from Biloxi who died at age 47 of leukemia. “I painted with him frequently in Montana, he was a wonderful artist with an incredible zest for life!” Website

Text and Photos by Adrian Hoff

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