Self Portraits 2014 & 2020


Beginning with the choice of colour for line and shadow, then through altering arrangements of features, these images portray the manner in which the self is a subjective and ever shifting construction.

2014 oil pastel on paper (9×12″ each)


This 2020 self portrait below was a response to a friend’s request for a self-portrait. I find self portraits confounding because the self is a complex and varied collection of perspectives and experiences. There is no one “face” to show. I decided to paint myself resting on my daybed (which is amazing by the way).

CFS Self portrait by Julie Karey

Summer 2020, 8 x 10″ acrylic on canvas board

I felt that this was the most representative view of me in my current life, as a Chronic Fatigue/ Myalgic Encephalomyelitis patient. The gist of the treatment is rest because the powerhouses for all the cells of the body (mitochondria) do not produce nearly enough energy for the body to move and shake, to essentially conduct a normal, simple life.

Sleeping a lot looks great when you’re run down from working full time +, but after a few months, you start tiring (haha) of resting all the time. You want to do things, like create art or walk in the park or visit a friend. You want to be able to go to the grocery store when you need to.

So yeah, this is me. There’s a lot else going on in that head of mine, but for now, I’m pretty happy with this as a truthful self portrait for 2020.

To learn more about the role chronic illness plays in my life, please check out my Blog.