Mirrorless Self-Portrait, Sketch 1 final

Mirrorless Self-Portrait Series, sketch 1, final, 28.5cm x 42cm, 11 1/4" x 16 1/2", graphite, watercolour pencils, Cretacolor aquastics, copper leaf in a Moleskine A3 Sketchbook.

I wonder if hanging a monopod over the drawing lit with daylight bulbs in clamp lamps softened with white paper towels clipped on with clothes pegs (homemade lightboxes) produces a more true-to-life image?

That copper is quite dark, or quite glittery, depending on the angle of the light glancing on it.

Ok, so first, it was that my 'imagined' self-portrait wasn't realistic enough - I look younger, so I tried to correct it and simply made myself look sadder. Then it was that it was an attempt at an actual representation, so, therefore, too realistic. Sheez. Give me a break. I did this using my memory of myself, that's all. Then my daughter phones and says the eyes look so sad she can't bear it, that the sadness upsets her. So now we are in the emotive representation of the self, at last.

Yes, this sadness, determination, stick-to-it-ness is what I see in the mirror when I look at myself without any of the patinas I present to others. Sorry. It's real. My mother died 4 1/2 months ago, my kids mostly moved out (my daughter not fully but she works part-time in another city now), and I was sick with chills and a raging fever when I drew it. So what if it's sad. That's how I was feeling. 

Whether it's an accurate self-portrait, vis-a-vis anatomy and so on, I don't know. No-one who knows me has commented on this aspect. It does resemble me, yes, my daughter said. It's recognizable. But so sad! The unbearable weight of sadness.

The sadness that overwhelms, or is the core of a life's expression. My Dad had it too, that sadness. When I see the eyes here, I see my Dad's eyes.

Yet we persist.

It's a sad world in many ways. What can you do.

Maybe the next Mirrorless Self-Portrait will reveal another side, who knows.

I continue with the exercise.


To find out what this series is about, and the constraints I set, check out the very first post.




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