One of the things that fascinate me the most about art making are the tools, not only in the sense of the way they look, smell and feel, or the marks they make, but also their history, where they come from, what meaning they hold. Two pencils have been sitting on my desk lately, begging to be used, and perhaps to be used together. The first is a beautiful Faber-Castell E-Motion. We gave it to our dad on his 80th birthday. He was going blind and had Parkinson. He never used it. The second is a Prismacolor Ebony, perhaps one of the darkest pencils you can find. I dreamt of buying that pencil for three years. I could not find them in the UK and had to wait until I could go back to the States. One of the most exciting things when I land in the US is going to Michaels, and I was very happy to see that they had the pencil I had been dreaming of for such a long time. A bit of sad history and a token of happy history were sitting side by side on my desk, and tonight I decided to see if they could blend together into... life. Into my life. So here's a self portrait, inspired by a self portrait photo I took while we were driving across New Mexico and Arizona. My hair was a mess from taking my hat on and off. The silly expression is that of total bliss.