“Are we to paint what’s on the face, what’s inside the face, or what’s behind it?” – Pablo Picasso
It seems to me that all artists should try a self-portrait at least once. Some – like Rembrandt and Francis Bacon, many, many times. There are certain advantages, you can, for example insult your subject without offending anyone, distort, be truthful, and lie about them without fear of recourse. Of course the model is always available and doesn’t complain about how long you are taking – always an advantage. On the other hand to look with an artist’s honest eye at yourself, explore your own soul, possibly find things you don’t like, even magnify them and flaunt them, can be confronting. Here you are, showing the world how you see yourself, opening gates to the scorn of the hoi polloi. But – you can still throw it away at the end if you don’t like it. Speaking of which, the advice I received from an artist I admire was to publish and be damned. People must realise that artists do a lot of work and not all of it is high quality, the audience must see the bad with the good. And I agree with that, provided the quality of the work still reaches a certain standard, which is hard to define.
What is my experience so far? I find a unique psychological understanding that occurs when I look into my own eyes. The process is one of self discovery and realisation. It is introspective, particularly since you try to show your subject in a way that no-one has ever seen them before. I have the impression that I’ve not done my best work here, but it is a stepping stone.
I invite people to comment on this with their experience, or even to tell me what they think of the image. Where should I go from here?