Today I made two versions of the same self-portrait.
For context, let me just say that I am going through some emotional difficulties – nothing I can’t handle, but my mood goes up and down.
Today it was down.
The first drawing went horribly wrong – wrong proportions, face too long, nose not right, eyes not even etc. etc.
The second, while still not an accurate likeness, looks more like me.
So I ignored the first drawing and went to work on the second with some watercolour paints … filling in lines, changing shading etc.
When I was done, I wasn’t happy with it. Yes, it’s semi-accurate (apart from my mouth isn’t that persnickety and disapproving I promise!) but it has no life. It’s not interesting.
And then my eye was drawn to the abandoned image on the page above (Moleskine sketchbook, open) and I thought ‘well, it sucks anyway, so I might as well splash some colour on it.’
And when I did, the bad drawing came to life. Yes, the proportions are wrong – my nose isn’t that long, that’s not the exact shape of my face – but this drawing seems honest and real in a way that the more considered and cautious drawing isn’t.
It captures something I was feeling and thinking today.
And isn’t that the whole point of art?