How To Make a Self-Reflection Art Piece

Written by Jood, Teen Volunteer
Halifax Public Libraries' Teen Blog is written by and for teens. Discover more posts here.

Although art looks different for everyone, we may have similar difficulties when it comes to expressing ourselves through art, especially as teens. We have to understand that the world of art can include really anything, and that it’s okay if it doesn’t come as easily to you as it does for others. One thing that I think, as teens, we should create more of is self-reflection art pieces because we are constantly changing and growing. I’ve decided to create a painting to show little trinkets and symbols that represent my current interests, important things and people in my life.

Understanding yourself

Before starting your self-reflection art piece I would recommend planning everything out first. Now, this may be because I tend to be quite the perfectionist, but I think that it’s much easier to create when you have the idea for your piece that you can easily look at such as a rough draft or a simple list on your phone.

For my piece, I decided to paint on a mirror so I could have all of my interests and little things that are important to me all around my reflection. I ended up choosing this because it sounded a lot like my much cluttered room! Another thing I chose was my colour scheme then I saved a few photos of paintings to my phone for inspiration.

The process

We usually think starting is the hardest part of painting but for me it’s continuing. Remember, it’s okay if you hit a point where you don’t know where your piece is going, or if you get distracted by other things you have to do. I find that these moments tend to make you a better and stronger artist. Some things I do to keep me motivated are taking a day off from creating, going to a different atmosphere to think or just scrolling through my phone for inspiration.

Something else to keep in mind about the process is that the creative plans you make about your piece can change. For example, in my planning, I had imagined having much smaller symbols and no face at all but ended up adding in the face because I thought of looking at myself in the reflection of the mirror and painting exactly what I saw. Little changes like this made creating my piece much more fun and even made it look more like me.

Finishing your painting

This final step can make the time of creating your art piece last forever, and that’s okay. The solution to knowing when to stop adding details to your painting is short and simple, ask for a second opinion. For most artists, our brains tend to keep creating new ideas for our art piece right when we should be finishing up, but I think that asking a friend or family member’s opinion is the easiest way to stop adding to your self-reflection piece.

My opinions

I definitely understand why art can be scary for teens. Sometimes we just have to push ourselves to start creating, especially if it’s a form of art we’ve never tried before or we’re not particularly good at. I think that a self-reflection piece, no matter what kind, would be a great thing to have to look back at throughout your life. Even though it might be difficult to dedicate a piece of art for self-reflection instead of an idea or emotion, I think it would be worth it and much easier when you have these steps to use as an understanding of what it takes to start creating art.

Lastly, my personal experience with making my painting was much more intricate and fun than I had imagined. It helped me start to rounding myself off as a person, while also leaving room for growth, and now I have a painting that I can always look back on to see my life through my own eyes during the start of 2021.

About the writer

My name is Jood Shikara and I’m 16 years old. I have a dwarf hamster named Sesame who lives luxuriously. My life these days tends to centre around him and I am not mad about it! I’ve always thought learning was really fun but I like learning specifically about things that they don't teach you in school, like how to take care of a hamster! I love trying and learning about different styles of art because I want to channel my creativity in new and interesting ways.