Feeling brave and with the encouragement of my teacher, Amy, I decided to create some self-portraits. I wanted to draw a face that actually looks like someone I know rather an imaginary one (although that’s fun too). Not only did I want the challenge, but quite honestly, I’m looking for ways to accept and know the aging woman I see in the mirror each day. Drawing ME is a way to do that.
Where do I begin? How do I get the eyes to look like mine, the lips to suggest me? Gulp, this may be too much. Details like the contour of my head, length of my forehead, and volume of my nose mean paying careful, careful attention to exactly how all of this is uniquely put together. It’s not a simple task. Amy said, “just draw a head and put the eyes, nose and mouth where they should be. Then keep pushing the drawing until it begins to look like you.” So, I took a selfie on my iPad and began.
Something unexpected happened. My family showed up. Living or dead, they murmured as I drew. Behold, my slightly square jaw looks just like Aunt Winnie and my youngest brother. My hands and fingers are like my father’s. My eyes, slightly slanted like all my siblings (and probably like many before us). My nose a signature of my other brother; my eyebrows recently appearing on the newest baby; and my lips and smile a trademark of my family. With each drawing, it’s like holding a family constellation gathering. The good news is I like all these people.
These selfies are not intended to be perfect, realistic self-portraits. Instead, the final results are raw images loaded with color, messy lines, mistakes, and soul because that’s who I am.
So I invite you to stop for a minute and look at yourself in the mirror. Who else is there? What features are distinctly you? Now, start drawing with abandon.