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 had this tiny piece of matboard that I covered with gesso when I was cooking up a batch, and found it and sanded it down today, and the resulting surface was so creamy I had to use it. It's so small it was funny.  And yet, the scale forced a kind of intensity and I kept piling on the craypas with more force.  They got melty.  I scraped them down.  I drew into the waxy residue.  Pieces where the working process is like this tend towards the emotive, and so when I felt a recognition that was emotional but still visually resonant, I stopped.  

5.29.13, self portrait, small; graphite and craypas on gessoed matboard, 2x3"
©Karen Kaapcke 2013


  1. Great project, Karen. I turn 60 this year...have been thinking about what I will do as well. You have made quite a fabulous journey with these works. All the best,

    1. Steve, thank you so much. I look forward to seeing your 'response' to turning 60 - artistically, and otherwise. It is a part of our great journey in general, as artists it becomes an artistic journey. How could it be otherwise? It's been wonderful connecting with you and your work, and thanks for the support!
      best - Karen