Once a year I do a self portrait, around the time of my birthday. I suppose it is both confronting what has become and finding a way of dealing with that, both the inevitable disenchantment and the pleasure of the customary wielding of line and colour. The results seem to be more a face which registers for the most part a sour view of the world, perhaps I do. I remember a little while ago meeting someone I know at the Slade in the early 1950's and she said "that was the best time". The succeeding years have failed to be a diverting as she had hoped. I certainly do not feel that.
Laura Cummings' excellent book on self portraiture illustrates a great many artists as heroes, I wish I could be that but my self portraits over the years show someone much more wary, certainly not swashbucking - what it must be to be a swashbuckler like Courbet. Freud's naked self portraits are less the rendering of skin than in most of his portraits, more about the inner self, whereas Bonnard's blank eyes are simply terrifying. I think it was Freud who said "I paint myself from time to time because I am always there", there is that too.