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A face that tells a thousand tales

MOUTHS are the bugbear of all portrait painters. One wrong brush-stroke can change the subject's mood, and wreck the entire picture.

As one who is emphatically NOT a Sir Joshua Reynolds, Sir Peter Lely or Lucien Freud, I have got round the problem by eliminating the mouth altogether, leaving you with the ravaged image you see above.

It will surprise my friends to discover that the anxiety-filled face above is that of Yours Truly, a man whose every experience spread over eight decades is etched into those weary features.

Was it Oscar Wilde who said a man gets the face he deserves? If I deserve this then I've lived a much more riotous and dissolute life than I imagined.

The laughter lines and joy-lines have somehow conjoined with indignation, anxiety, resentment and rage to produce the quite scary visage observing you from a darkened room.

Half-portrait of Me is its title. National Portrait Gallery next stop.

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