What is it that is so satisfying about sitting for one’s portrait. Many people will think that it’s simply vanity, the delayed gratification of being depicted for posterity. But it’s more than that. It’s partly being allowed to do nothing, and feeling faintly virtuous in doing nothing. Then, there’s the companionship, the chitchat which accompanies a sitting. Somehow it feels like a collaboration, as if one is party to the act of portraiture by contributing to it not just what one looks like, but one’s past history. Catherine said that it was good that I had been so grumpy one sitting as this would be one strand in the portrait. It’s a composite, not just a snapshot. At least, that’s the theory.
Today was meant to be my last sitting. It’s not clear if it was. It was slightly tense because of the pressure to finish. No gossip. Short breaks. Lots of looking at the picture from a distance and in the mirror. It was too wet to judge and I still haven’t seen it.