I’ve been drawing a daily self-portrait since the beginning of last September. I started a couple of days before my last birthday (I was on holiday at the time), and I haven’t stopped.
I’m certainly not the first person to create self-portraits. Many artists, from Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, to Lucien Freud, and Louise Bourgeois, have painted self-portraits. And there are lots of variations on the theme: Ryan Gander, for example, painted the palette that he used to create his self-portraits, and there is an artist, Bryan Lewis Saunders, who painted self-portraits whilst on different drugs. (He ended up with mild brain damage).
It is not original.
I don’t really know why I started – something of a challenge perhaps?
I have posted some of them on my Instagram page (annies_haul). It is interesting to hear people’s comments:
Boredom has set in at times, so I have experimented with slightly different media, but always restricting myself to black and white. I have longed for colour.
I have also tried drawing with my non-dominant hand/with my eyes shut/from memory. Some of the most interesting self portraits have been with my non-dominant hand, and it’s amazing how (good?) some of the non-dom/eyes shut ones have turned out.
Am I validating my existence? Is it healing? Do they represent aspects of self? Do I need to do this in order to be able to capture the essence of someone else? Is it a load of rubbish?
I’m a stubborn person and I am hoping to continue this madness for a year. I have so far thought about making some kind of stop frame animation using the sketches, or perhaps some textile work…
I think that my drawing and observational skills have improved a little. We are taught to draw faces from a very early age, but we don’t really draw what we see. It’s a bit like the house with four windows and the tree outside – how many of us really live in a house like that?
So the staring at myself will continue. Maybe there is a song in it?