8x10 inches, graphite and colored pencil
I get into obsessive little grooves once in a while, and I seem to be cranking out these drawings in graphite and colored pencil, with texture added in the background and sometimes in clothing or hair. I realized that I had not done a self-portrait for the Flickr group, Julia Kay's Portrait Party. There's is nothing like being stuck inside because of ice and snow to get some artwork done - and some reading. All indoor things, you know.
I worked on a different portrait this past weekend, similar technique, at an art retreat. I knew some of the participants, and some of the ladies were new to me. Why are these events almost always all women? Virtually all of them worked in watercolor, and when they weren't painting they were knitting. I gave up knitting in college - not my forte. Anyway, last weekend I was working on a largish acrylic painting that may or may not be finished off in oil, and on the drawing. More than one person asked me if it is easier to work on a portrait of someone I do not know than a familiar person, and I was stumped as to what to say. I used to feel more comfortable drawing strangers, since the portraits I made at first seldom looked like the actual person. If I struggle over a painting or drawing of a person I know, and it doesn't look like her, that is a blow. How much better to basically fail on portraying somebody you are not invested in emotionally!
But in the past couple years or so my drawings have begun actually looking like the subjects, and I have discovered it does not matter to me if I know the person or not, if all I am trying to do is get a likeness. It's easier to put something of a person's personality in if I know him or her, but just a likeness, it doesn't matter. Of course it's harder working from life, where fatigue sets in for both the artist and the subject. This drawing is from a photo a friend took of me, and many of the others I have done in this series are from online photos people provided. I get to take as long as I want or need. I'm not saying it's easy, but for me it's just a matter of paying attention to shapes, and patterns of light and dark.
So - this is pretty much what I look like these days. I'm heavier than I like, have more "character" lines on my face, but I can live with myself fairly happily. Unless I consider that my 45th high school class reunion is coming up - then all I want is a dose of Geritol, and a blanket tucked around me in my rocking chair.