Chiarina Loggia

A printmaker's progress

The Art of Navel Gazing – or how one self portrait snowballed into an entire year’s work.





In this dance with lens

Of vision and dreams entwined

So captured by you

It all began with a desire to break barriers – a desperate need to push the boundaries of my art and of my life. I had always dismissed self portraits. I believed them to be works of vanity or navel gazing and I wanted none of that. But I found myself with a growing need for self expression that could no longer be contained or confined and in a moment of inspiration I realized that a thoughtfully designed self portrait could be the perfect conduit for this.

So I asked my good friend and killer photographer, Jonathan Dvorak, to take some photographs of me that, being a printmaker, I hoped to create a photo etching from. While he was baffled by my vague and convoluted ideas for the shoot he nevertheless agreed to give it ‘a shot’. Having next to no experience as a model, and also wishing to expose such a personal side of myself, I approached the shoot with both trepidation and courage. It proved to be an intimidating yet exhilarating experience. With Jonathan’s skill and sensitivity, I got the shot I was hoping for and many more as well. Even more importantly, what unfolded in the course of the shoot was an intuitive understanding, reciprocity and trust between model and photographer that translated into greater truth than I had anticipated being revealed not only in the resultant images but to myself.

One of these images became the photo etching posted above, which I titled December. The cool light and dark shadows allude to the somberness of this time of darkest hours that will soon give way to the dawning of a new year. The pose is an enigmatic one, with the loosened clothing and downward gaze pulling the viewer into a private moment. Is the woman’s left hand in a protective position or about to undo the button and reveal more of her heart? The viewer gets to decide.

This piece won an Honorable Mention at the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria’s LOOK show in February of this year, my first ever award.  This recognition, as well as the numerous positive responses to this piece helped me to realize that when you put your heart into your work it strikes a chord with others, thereby giving it value far beyond any self indulgent navel gazing.

Thank you, Jonathan, for your sensitive eye and generous heart.


Author: chiaink

World travelled yet never weary, eloquent and evocative, Chiarina's artworks sing with a sensitive and sensuous spirit.

10 thoughts on “The Art of Navel Gazing – or how one self portrait snowballed into an entire year’s work.

  1. I knew your paintings but not this style of etching. Very beautiful.

    I salute your courage to reveal another side of your nature.


  2. Wow Chiarina! A fabulous start with your new blog and turning the corner to new experiences using your imagination!

  3. Great start to your new blog! You have a way with words!!

  4. Thanks, ladies, for your wonderful encouragement! New posts to surface soon.

  5. Chia, a pleasure finding your words and revelations via the kind words you left on my own silly moustache blog. I echo Terri’s comment that you have a way with words that draws your reader in in much the same way as your enigmatic left hand. For me, the reflection on self-portraiture was particularly resonant as one who has grappled with the same considerations. In Flickr’s social photography community there are any number of individuals regularly posting selfies, those self-revelatory photos often quickly building out the photographer’s network. I’ve typically shied from these photos; however, as with your experience, the feedback when I do shoot them has been…let’s just say perhaps a compulsion to shoot more.

    Yours in artistic growth and revelation.

  6. I find it always interesting when following the flow. The nudges here and there, where to go; it always seems to have its own voice. I have been aware of this blog post for at least a couple of months now since the first time I saw it. And I remember its voice then too, it was a voice of truth. I wanted to comment then; but without words, this voice asked me to wait. So I did.

    Then today, I was nudged again to return. Chiarina, what I see here, in all its beauty, is a naked truth emerging from an empty space, the enigma, that lays closer to your heart, that lays closer to your art; of which, your words have flowed to herald your own voice…your own truth! And yet, it is not an empty space! For how can your art, that has so much to say, through others, be …empty? There is nothing empty about truth for it is where all of life’s mysteries flow out of; love cannot help but recognize itself, and it paves its own path to now to reveal its WOW!. So the greatest gift we can receive, is the gift of our art, through our heart …when released. Thankyou so much for releasing your truth through your art and your words. Chiarina, you continue to inspire me to always follow my own heart…a heart that wants to feel free in releasing my own truth too! Thankyou ☼ღ

  7. Pingback: Tuesday Tales – December Dream | Chiarina Loggia

  8. Beautiful courage and art. Congratulations!

  9. Pingback: Tuesday Tales – Look Through My Window | Chiarina Loggia

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