Self portrait as a tarnished angel

Self portrait as a tarnished angel is in oil pastel, oil paint, pen and pencil on board. It is about A3 in size. Based on an earlier, more straight forward drawing, this was done in Bristol some years ago. I was trying to allow my minds eye to follow the details of my face and figure with as much autonomy as possible to see what is really there - a spirit if you will. I began this exploration, letting my minds eye or inner eye freedom to 'see' the reality or the possibilities, in the late 1970s/80s . I still do this today and I believe that I see more 'clearly' now than ever before.


Self looking down

Self (looking down) is one of many self portraits done regularly over the years. I think my first serious self portrait was when I was 16 or 17 years old. The one shown here is, for me, a typical line drawing using a soft pencil on A3 medium surface paper. Line has such immense power yet appears to use very modest means. This is deceptive as line can be varied to such an extent that it conveys depth, tone, surface properties, light and shade, and, sometimes even colour can be implied by the graphite in the pencil. Yet for all this virtuosity the line of a pencil always maintains a sense of understatement that gives a drawing breath and intimacy. It is also immediate in terms of execution which helps to minimise the distraction between observation and imagination, that is, line retains a high sense of integrity and honesty.