I painted this self-portrait for a homework assignment during my A-level Art course at Lowlands Sixth Form College, Harrow. The brief was to use an unusual coloured light source to create an interesting atmosphere.
One of the challenges was working in a darkened room, with a fairly dim red light bulb and trying to guess what colour paint I was applying to the paper. I had to keep turning the bedroom light on and off to check the colours and tones. It makes me wonder how all the old masters (and mistresses) painted by candlelight!
So, this is how I chose to portray myself at seventeen. Please note the denim jacket, brainy girl specs and wistful expression! Nothing has really changed over the intervening decades and this remains my favourite self-portrait from my “back catalogue”.
This photograph shows the framed painting, where it used to hang, in my parents’ previous house at Marlborough Hill, Harrow. I brought it with me to the French Alps in 2003.