Self Portrait #3

Self Portrait #3, June 15, 2006

Who am I? Why do I find self-portraiture harrowing? What my mind sees and what my hand draws are not the same. Is it that my eyes are trained to see like a camera, and my hand feels its way over surfaces, uncaring about representational likeness? If someone who knows me saw these self portraits would they recognize me? The problem is no, they wouldn't; not out of context. I don't know who I'm drawing, but it's not me. Could I then call them versions of the self?

Because Natalie asked, for Sparky's Self Portrait Marathon.

Two renditions of the same self portrait drawn in a tiny mirror, on a small piece of canvas, 3.5"x5", india ink, watercolour pencil. Click on image for larger sizes.


  1. I like these self portraits you've done. It's funny how we always judge ourselves on how close of a likeness we get, when so many other things about our drawings are telling - like what colors you choose, the marks of each line, what gets detailed in the image and what fades away, even the figure and position of what you choose to draw. All these things are more of a self portrait even than how perfectly you make a likeness of a face that eventually will change to not resemble what you've just drawn. I think your self portrait in pink was a beautiful drawing, and it made me think that you pay attention to delicate things. Very beautiful!

  2. Je ne me reconnais pas non plus quand je me photographie !
    D'ailleurs , qui sommes nous ?
    L'image de notre apparence ?

  3. Well, of course, Brenda, I think you develop such interesting and creative self-portraits. I love your pictures and drawings. I, on the other hand, am finding it so difficult (not being an artist) that this post - that is, what you write here, describes exactly the difficutly I am, in fact, having!

    Thanks so much for this.

  4. You're doing better than I ever did.

    Whenever I tried to draw myself, the person would look goofy. I was never told in real life that I look goofy.

    I don't know if I was discovering my inner goofy man, or that I can't draw.

  5. Ester, when you put it like that, yes, we make all sorts of choices about how to "present" ourselves, and even if the final product doesn't look like a photographic image, it's still us. But I love your self portraits, and your work... one of Sparky's contest "finds" you are!

    Jean, I can't read French, depending on NET translations, and can't write in French to you, but, oh, even your photographs of yourself! It would be a challenge, then, to photograph yourself as you see yourself. I couldn't imagine you in anything but that gold light that flows through all your work and that sweeps my dreams...

    Tamar, oh, honey, be brave and post an attempt - for that's all most of us are doing, attempts that proximate... Mostly my daughter will tell me, those aren't your eyes, or lips, or nose, although the face shape is okay... sigh. And she's right. I haven't gotten myself yet. Post them and let them go...

    Darius, honestly, mine fall far short of what I'm 'seeing,' or what the camera would 'see,' it's frustrating... but the one I saw that you did of yourself captures something of you, surely, even if it's a simple line drawing. Goofy? Why, let's be goofy, it'd probably do us good!

  6. You say you are drawing versions of yourself, so I immediately wondered are you drawing who you want to be, or who you do not want to be?

  7. Quilldancer, I suspect that the multiples in #5 were an answer to you... can't say on whether the versions are aversions :) How about you?


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