Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Face in the Mirror

I do not like having my photo taken. The thought of being captured on video is right up there with the idea of taking a dive off a bridge with a bungee cord attached to my ankles. 

Drawing self portraits is different.

At first there is this face in the mirror. It is fatter than I'd like. I see the coarseness of my skin and the way folds of it sag in places. My chin is no longer as well defined as it used to be and my eyebrows have no sense of decorum at all.. 

Then I pick up my pen and take a closer look. I start with a nostril. Why a nostril? I don't know - it's a place to start. I look at the shape of the dark opening of the tunnel that runs up the inside of my nose. It isn't round. The darkness isn't all the same density. I draw the outside line of my nose around my nostrils, feeling the shape and texture in my mind and somehow relaying that feeling to the hand that holds the pen. I observe. I sense. I am present with every line. I am subject, verb and object. There are no more eyes, nose, wrinkles, ears. There is only shape and curve and light and dark, delicate lines, heavy lines. 

Then colour. I see green and blue where I thought there were only skin tones. Crimson and ochre. Warm and cool. 

When it is done and I look at the drawing I have made, it is not good or bad. It is a faithful record of my seeing in that time and place. Even if it doesn't look like me, it has something of myself in it. 


These five selfies were all drawn looking into the same mirror. I used different materials each time. In some I used one continuous line. In others I tried to capture light and shade.

Drawing these self portraits there was no room for judgement; only seeing. Looking in the mirror can be the same. Looking with judgement limits what we can see.  Seeing without judgement opens up a whole new world.

10 comments:

  1. Wonderful series - you have inspired me to try. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sandy. I'm sure you will love it - best wishes,
      Evelyn

      Delete
  2. Great story and illustration. I would say you captured your image with flair and style!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My thanks - I like the sound of flair and style!!

      Delete
  3. Evelyn I loved reading your childhood wondering about what your life would be like as you grew up (sidebar)! Making me remember my early dreams. Not as colorful as yours, but dreams nonetheless. I enjoyed your selfies in SBS and seeing them together and hearing your process delights me again! We share unruly eyebrows! We share a love of drawing. And now we share a new way of accepting our Selves! Aren't Selfies great?! Thanks for sharing all of yours. They are fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Lynn. Long live the sisterhood of self acceptance and unruly eyebrows!!!

      Delete
  4. Beautifully written, Evelyn. I am struggling with judging my drawing--I will keep your thoughts close as I continue my journey. Your drawings are wonderful as well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Linda. In the face of un-budging judgement, the thing that works best for me is to focus on producing quantity, not quality. Just drawing a lot is the best antidote -
      best wishes,
      Evelyn

      Delete
  5. What a wonderful description of your process, Evelyn. It has "opened my eyes" and freed me up to do a portrait/sketch of my daughter. I was feeling apprehensive--now I can't wait to start! Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so great, Louisa! Go for it!!

      Delete