I started todays self portrait while on the crosstown bus to my studio. Going in to an afternoon of wrapping up paintings for the move, and then taking my daughter to swim team practice followed immediately by the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center, I thought that I may get a chance to draw during swim practice, but I may not - and so I started drawing in the bus. I am struck by after several months now of doing these self-portraits, I can kind of flip my brain around to see myself from the outside in - and I began my face as I remembered feeling when I was at Riverside Church for Christmas Eve services. In the hard brown seats. Singing, and thinking about it all in spite of myself. I got a pretty good start but then, had to pack it in because we reached my stop. I found however, a moment during packing to pull out my drawing book and work more on it, finishing it up. There was a mirror there that I use for self-portraits, and lots of boxes behind me instead of the church pews.
12.27.12, self potrait while packing paintings, graphite and oil pastel, 5x7", ©Karen Kaapcke 2012
I woke up, thinking - what to do today? What does one do when one turns 50? My paints were in my studio, but the only thing that made any sense was to sit myself down right away, and take a good honest look at myself before I had any time to think. I found a watercolor block, and my drawing box and thus began a project of drawing myself every day for my 50th year. To live 50 as a painter, taking a good look each day, whether I have 2 minutes or an hour, and whether I want to or not. And in the way that iterations are not just repetitions but change due to the very fact of being repeated, I will live the year of 50.
Karen Kaapcke, September 2012
The Continuation: I have noticed in this, my 51st year, that I am more my body than ever. Yet I was suddenly barely recognizing it. The need to look at it and 'lean in' with it, to work with it, has become central. As a result, my body is becoming more my own. And more universally representative of the need to be present physically in a way that most women find only happens in the younger, sexy years. 51 = drawing the body.
Karen Kaapcke 3.30.13
A few years later, and I looked into the mirror - and was struck by how foreign my belly was to me. I still don't recognize myself.
Karen Kaapcke 9.20.16