I wondered what I would look like to me now. Doing others portraits is much easier because there is a recognition. After Colin died I didn’t recognize myself. Though I must say vanity is a great thing. Even in the absolute depths of grief I wore sunglasses and combed my hair – couldn’t be bothered to colour it though so it became more grey.
I wanted to go in for the Sky Self Portrait competition just to say I had done it….and I was curious how would I appear to myself now without Colin.
So I started. Firstly the sunglasses had to go on. Then there was the hair. My hair has never behaved itself, it has a life and will of its own. Was that all there was of me – sunglasses and hair? I had to get drops for my eyes. The pharmacist said “no eyes are designed to cry that much” definitely sun glasses – there’s that vanity again thank goodness.
So I started.
At first I didn’t recognize myself. I did an under sketch and left it thinking it simply wouldn’t work. But the interesting thing about leaving work up and passing it all the time is that it works back on you. The temptation is to put a bit in and take a bit out and so it progresses. It may work. I think it will.
I am beginning to recognize myself. Crumpled, sad and washed up…but still here.
My hair is mainly grey. You don’t see many grey haired portraits or maybe you do and I’ve not noticed them. A curious colour a mix of dark and light. My hairs still got a life of its own. I think it wants a few blonde streaks. Also its naturally curly though during the first months of grieving I straightened it because it felt easier though on passing mirrors and shop windows I looked to myself like a falling tear. The more I worked in my self portrait the more I missed my curly, wavy, disobedient hair. Then one day after washing I left to it its own devices it sprung up and went its own way.
Being an artist and messing about with paints means I used to enjoy colouring my own hair. It’s just another canvas when all’s said and done. Take one brush and one bowl of colour and voila…though not until the portrait is finished.