Drawing 50

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
I started drawing before really waking up, before thinking about anything, because there are too many things creeping in fast.  As soon as my son left the house I sat down in the kids' bedroom, my wrist still sore from yesterday's bike accident, and my thoughts still drifting towards worries.   I taped a large piece of bristol to a foam core board, and the pencil tapping on the board, and the markings on the paper, were almost sufficient pleasure.  I wanted to make lots of marks, and have my face emerge from it's situation of marks and dressers and bookshelves and walls.  But I was also very tired, and resolved to stay true to that as well.

2.5.13, self portrait in the bedroom, graphite, 10x10", ©Karen Kaapcke 2013


  1. I just want to say I'm so glad I found your Blog - I'm really enjoying seeing your selfportraits - I admire your honesty and use of the media.

  2. thanks so much Bridget. I look forward to hearing from you, and am glad also that you appreciate the work. Best, Karen