Most talented artists will admit with some guilt that self portraits are difficult. We have seen self portraits in the works of masters. When viewing an artist’s self portrait you should take a moment to notice the expression on the face of the subject in the painting or drawing. That expression is important when we consider painting or sketching our own self portrait. The face staring back at you is your harshest critic and you are its cruelest judge.
Keep a notepad and a small compact mirror on your person during the day. When you have a quiet moment, take out your mirror and notepad and begin a sketch of the face you see in the mirror. Resist the urge to tear it up and throw it away. Close it when you are done and continue the sketch later. The self portrait experiment is not about being a talented artist. It doesn’t matter if your sketch is good or bad in your opinion. It is about self reflection in its purest form. What is important is that you realize that your sketch is how you see yourself.
When you get home, take a moment to peer at your own reflection in the bathroom mirror. Stare into those eyes and try to image what that person staring back you is thinking. If your answer is a cruel judgment of your appearance you are mistaken. The image is only a reflection and there is still only one sentient being in the room. This is a profound observation. Not because you have acknowledged your reflection isn’t sentient, but because you have acknowledged that your judgment of yourself is not only false but nonexistent.
When we peer out at others we only see reflections of them upon the mirrors behind the lens of our pupils. Can you now acknowledge that your judgment of them at a glance is not only false but nonexistent? Of all the nonexistent things we take for granted as being reality, our perception of ourselves and others is perhaps the most profound. Painting or drawing the self portrait will literally reset the aperture of the lens in which you view the world.