In the subway on the way out to move paintings into a large storage space, I took out my paper to draw and noticed that there was one last sheet that was already drawn on by that little girl who found my drawing pad in Riverside Church on Christmas Eve. The piece started resonating with me on so many levels, not least of which as a manifestation of what has been happening to me this 50th year. I have been coming closer to feeling how I used to feel when drawing as a child, and yet at the same time with all my years in-between. There is a spiraling back, of course, each phase making new sense of the origin; yet I have this feeling lately that the spiral is getting tighter and tighter, so that at the end there may be, once again and with any luck, a child drawing with a stick in the dirt under a tree.
12.30.12, Double Portrait, graphite on paper that was drawn on previously by a young girl, 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