Before heading downtown to draw the figure, which during this period of drawing I've been maintaining a commitment to, I started my self-portrait, thinking only to begin and finish later when the dishwasher repair guys were here. But I couldn't stop until it was done. Never knowing in advance when I'll reach that moment, I worked extremely fast since I didn't want to miss any model time. I should have known that I wouldn't be able to leave a drawing half finished. Just before 9 a.m. however, the idea for the red arm came to me, and when put it in, after several erasures around the figure to balance it out, I was done. Why did this do it? Because though it appears to be my left arm in the mirror image, it is actually my drawing arm, my right, which was getting redder as the pressure to get the drawing out, to get all these drawings out, increased.
1.25.13, self portrait with red arm, graphite and chalk, 9x11", ©Karen Kaapcke 2013
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