By means of ‘haptic perception’ this is my first self portrait. As I touched my face with one hand, the other hand drew what I experienced through touch. Whilst listening to the compulsory track ‘Hello’ by Lionel Ritchie, which my tutor kindly put on to help lighten the mood, I found many class mates could not stop chattering and giggling. Such a little exercise easily put us out of our comfort zone, and into a state of mind that demanded a real contemplation for what we feel like, and how that may appear to look when represented by marks on the page. After blocking out the mass hysteria that this exercise brought upon many in the class, I discovered that I surrendered easily to the task because I saw it as an exercise of getting to know myself in a totally different way. I also figured that if I could make my left brain redundant in this exercise (by letting go of any preconceived ideas about what it should result in), it may help to break through my inclination to think that I am completely retarded when it comes to drawing. I am amused by the character that I now see before me on the wall. I see a man peering at me, mouth gaping open, in a side ways glance saying ‘Oh, now you didn’t just take my photo did you?’ I curiously want to develop him further, and give him a name. He’s kind of sincere and likable.
By looking into a mirror I attempted to draw my portrait capturing the essence of me. The woman on paper looks vibrant and happy (emphasized by the exaggerated elongated swishing hair) but not at all like me in reality. Upon asking my seven year son and his playmate if this looked anything like me, they replied “You would have to draw lots of spots on it, so we could see your freckles”. God bless the honest qualities of kids. So, it’s no surprise, that any drawing without the freckle feature is never going to look like me.
Exercise Two: second attempt
Recently I have been drawing using circles as my mark making technique. I decided to utilise this mark making technique to literally draw my spots on my face. Freckles galore! I felt really uncomfortable with this exercise, because I actually dislike seeing my face without makeup. Subconsciously I think that I deliberately drew this ‘ugly’ style, so that I could accept the final result more readily. Although being a challenging task, I did nevertheless enjoy seeing this mark making technique used differently. My giggles as a result made me smile each time I looked in the mirror. Exemplified in my portrait here. Mouth gaping with teeth and gums all exposed. Eyes nearly squeezed shut as I laugh at myself in the mirror. Capturing the essence of me. Ask any of my friends. And they will tell you that ‘Yes, indeed. She looks like Ollie Onion when she laughs.”