This little fig tree has survived so much: being transplanted, then a killer frost, and then transplanting again after sewer line work. As soon as leaves sprouted this year so did two figs. Sadly the crows or squirrels (or the toddler next door?) took them before I could even post this.
I sat in the driveway and quickly sketched some roses but had to stop when the shadow of the house took away the light.
And then there’s my not so spring-y self, frowning into the mirror, with hat-head and something wrong with the mouth. And yes, it’s intentionally buried at the bottom of this post. It feels good to be drawing again, after what seems like months away from it. It’s also a little frustrating feeling rusty at it. But the only fix for that is more drawing!
I wasn’t satisfied with the two ink and watercolor end-of-journal self-portraits (below) that completed the 8×10″ Moleskine I was working in back in June. Rose Frantzen had told me during my workshop with her that I had wonderful skin to paint and should be doing lots of self-portraits from life in oil. So I decided to give it a try.
I only had couple of hours left in the day for painting so chose a small 6×6″ panel that already had a dark background from wiping off a previous failed painting. I turned off most of the lights in the studio except for one pointing at my face from the left and one overhead light behind me. I clamped a mirror to the easel and started painting. What a surprise: after a couple of hours I’d made my most favorite self-portrait ever.
I know it’s not perfect but I don’t think it calls for perfecting; it’s just a moment in time and a record of a very enjoyable but short painting session.
Below are the two in my sketchbook. I was in a really grumpy mood and struggling with the drawing on the first one and it shows (below):
A few days later I tried again:
I was in a much better mood. I put my birthday bouquet on the table between me and the mirror and started drawing. It was confusing trying to combine what was real and what was mirror image. It’s a dorky drawing of me but I like the flowers.
Isn’t it amazing how emotions and mood show in a drawing or painting? It’s like there are two different people in these two sketches: mean, tense, bossy-lady and sweet, flowery, dorky girl.
OK, let’s just get this over with. At the end of each journal I sketch a self-portrait. In the one above from the end of 2012, I had new glasses but was in need of a haircut. I put on some lipstick and mascara to get in the spirit. Even though it’s not very complimentary (or maybe it is? Yikes) I think it looks like me.
This one was done quickly last month in a Moleskine watercolor notebook with a brown brush pen (still wearing the same old grey hoodie plus a down vest to stay warm). My hair and clothes look right but NOT my face. Oh well.
I’m now using a giant Moleskine watercolor notebook, A4 size I think. and I’m really loving it. I have a whole bunch more sketches and some oil paintings to post…. but since I feel the need to go somewhat in order I had to get these posted first. Done. Moving on.
Just like my life, my blog and journal posts are all mixed up. I always save the last page in each journal for a self-portrait and this was in the Moleskine watercolor notebook that I finished last month.
I did the sketch standing at the big mirror in my studio which I just knew would be great for self portraits. The unlovely, but much-loved apparel in the sketch are a T-shirt my son made for me back when he was a teenage graffiti artist, and my favorite, funky, old grey sweatshirt that I wear all the time at home/in the studio.
The past month has been a bit of a wild ride, with a major transition in progress, which I’ll write about and celebrate here once it’s complete. In the meantime, I’ll see if I can catch up with more posting, painting and drawing!
I’m back from my fantastic, amazing, intense week-long portrait workshop with Rose Frantzen, the best teacher I’ve ever had, in Scottsdale, Arizona. I will share my experiences once I have fully processed them and recovered my blogging mojo.
Meanwhile, I’m going through caffeine withdrawal again. After months with zero caffeine I needed extra energy to paint 8 hours a day on little sleep for a week. First it was just a morning cup of green tea, then black tea, then an afternoon diet Coke, and by the last day, a morning cup of bad coffee AND the diet Coke in the afternoon. Now, after two days of withdrawal migraines, hopefully I’m over the worst of it. And it was worth it.
I felt like sketching and the mirror was handy so why not draw myself, cozy in my gray sweats. My grandma Gertie had a “house dress” she wore all the time at home and out back to hang her laundry. Just a yellow cotton smock that snapped up the front. I have my “house sweats” that I wear when I’m at home. So comfy and warm.