8x10 inches, colored pencil on tan notebook paper
I completed this portrait of Nadya, a woman I have never met, but is a fellow member of Julia Kay's Portrait Party, before Christmas. I like it well enough, though I wish I had done a better job of differentiating the dark tones of her shirt from the dark background. I kept layering, and I may have gone one step too far. Still, I think it captures her graceful appearance.
I turn sixty-six today, and am grateful to be relatively healthy and able to pursue my interests, such a local history and my art. I look my age, which is startling every morning when I stand in front of the bathroom mirror to brush my teeth. I have unruly salt and pepper hair, smile and frown lines galore, and a rounder figure than I care to think about very deeply. Still, in my mind, I am more like, say, forty-five. There is a disconnect between how I think of myself, and how I see myself in the mirror, and indeed how younger people treat me. This sort of thing hit home at the annual family get-together at Christmas time. I now am the oldest person in the room, except for my husband and brother-in-law, who only are older by three months. I occupy the position my grandmother once held, a little more dressed up than the younger relatives, a little overwhelmed by overly excited little ones, a little tired and ready to head back home to rest.
I have never liked the timing of my birthday, falling as it does between Christmas and New Year. I always resented it a little when birthday presents came in Christmas wrapping paper, and always had to do with winter clothing. This time of year everyone is busy, and a little over-fed, so a birthday like mine gets little notice. Of course these days people think it's silly for a retired gray haired woman to even pay much attention to birthdays. Nevertheless, I took myself out for an Egg McMuffin this morning, and tonight we're planning to get a nice meal out, possibly featuring a martini. My dear aunt sent me a pretty birthday card (such a rare thing these days), some long time friends and left a happy birthday song on voicemail, and my Facebook friends have been checking in with greetings, so the day has not gone unnoticed.
It's good to find the sunshine wherever you can.