The period in which I painted this portrait was a time of growth, exciting new prospects and ambition, but also a time of huge change, painful introspection, and escalating mental health issues. Consequently, painting this portrait was an immensely challenging and sensitive undertaking. What was it about this piece I found so unnerving? Was it the exploration of a new medium, or the simultaneous narcissism and vulnerability of making myself the subject?

As I was working with a new medium, I reasoned it would be an easier transition if I knew the subject matter well; what face could I be more familiar with than my own? Yet this brought about a new challenge – while I am certainly accustomed to my face, I am not always  comfortable with it. This submission is actually my third attempt – still, I am not satisfied, but materials are expensive, and my face isn’t changing.

My first two undertakings sparked a passion for oil painting, but my inexperience with the material confronted me with frustrating limitations and disappointment so I abandoned those attempts. I recognise the unfinished nature of this work and my personal dissatisfaction with it as a metaphor for my experiences this year. I feel this artwork encapsulates the essence of me – it is inexperienced, unfinished and raw, but sincere and ultimately hopeful.