This is a painting that I started just after I turned sixty six and four years later and much repainting I am at a stage where I might let it rest. Is it a likeness? Well, if it and my head were ever to be exhibited together, then maybe but does it really matter? Painting a portrait is about many things, certainly about paint; certainly about context. The painter changes from day to day, hour to hour: the accretion of paint, the working of the paint in fact is as important as the scrutinisation of the head being painted. There are many self portraits which are about the act of painting rather than making a likeness but the questioning that goes on - is it like this, is it more like that? Is it more yellow, is it Naples yellow or Naples Yellow and a touch of Raw Umber ; what is that shape? where is that line exactly?
In Malcom Gladwell's book The Tipping Point (2000) he states that context is crucial to all varieties of human behaviour. We are affected by both large and minute changes and what I am at any one time and in any one place changes as a mutating human organism. So it is indeed a moving target.
I have a friend who entered a competition, filmed in the manner of The Great British Bake Off. She attempted to get a likeness of her sitter without the aid of tablets and squaring up apps. She looked, she applied brush to canvas, she watched the clock. I admire her guts because I wouldn't be able to do that. I need time, years obviously. I will revisit the portrait because it is very interesting and because next time it will be different again. And I am my own sitter and am always here - for now.