We have been doing a lot of walking since the pandemic started, originally prompted by restricted exercise periods for months at a time. Now walking is a regular activity and each week we try and do a slightly longer walk. We often break this up with a coffee, in our Thermos, or at one of the pop-up coffee carts that seem to be proliferating along popular walking tracks around the city.
I hate carrying too much on these walks so I now carry this home made 10×14 cm sketchbook made of paper offcuts. Here are some of my recent sketches.
WARNING this post contains a nude portrait. (It’s OK, it’s not me).
It seems there is a trend amongst my artist friends to be doing self portraits. So I am jumping in, along with Carol Haywood and Rose Davies to share my recent versions.
I started drawing myself in March and then quickly fell by the wayside. I recently got re-inspired by Jennifer Higgie’s book the Mirror and the Palette, looking at the herstory of the self-portrait.
The portraits of older women artists are often the most experimental. Perhaps the most visceral portrait I know is by Maria Lassnig, (1919- 2014), painted in her 80’s, it really sorts the women from the boys. I saw it in Amsterdam in 2019 and it certainly hit me in the gut.
Alice Neel has also painted an unapologetic nude self-portrait in her 80’s, which is on display in a current retrospective of her work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. See here for a online veiwing of the exhibition.
You will probably be relieved to know that I don’t have the guts of Lassnig or Neel to do nude self-portraits. Maybe later. Maybe when I turn 80.
So here are the portraits I have made so far. Most, with the exception of the watercolour, have been sketched on paper roll from Ikea.