Is Art about Accuracy or Emotion?

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?


3 thoughts on “Is Art about Accuracy or Emotion?

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