Sometimes, while trying on something in a clothing shop, I’ll catch sight of a middle-aged, grey-haired man in the mirror and wonder, for a split second, who he is and why he can’t find his own changing room. Then I realise that he’s me and I am, unfortunately, no longer 35. Or anywhere close to 35.
This probably explains why my attempts at self-portraits always turn out so odd. Sometimes I look like a young actor appearing as an old man in a theatre company that can’t afford a decent make-up artist. I once did one that looked like Bill Murray in a wind-tunnel, another where I looked like an unconvincing Elvis impersonator…
Last night I thought I’d have another go – today being Selfie Art Day – starting with a faint pencil outline to be sure that my head was the right shape and my ears in the right place, and then drawing in ink until it looked about right. If I did something wrong I’d simply go over it until it looked better. The end result, I thought, might suggest one of those Giacometti sketches that almost obliterate the subject.
Yesterday was a challenging day and I didn’t get very far with it. However, looking at the picture again this morning there was something about the eyes that captured yesterday’s emotional temperature. Although I’d remain a free man for years if this was ever used as a police identikit picture, I submit it for Selfie Art Day with only a slightly guilty conscience. The expression in the eyes is pretty accurate and the eyes are, we’re told, the key to any portrait.