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
A lot of what doing these drawings have brought me are questions and ever more questions. One of those questions is of course the inevitable why draw in the first place. Other than decorative/making pieces that go well in a living room, or mimesis/likeness, or ground breaking art-history-wise, or expressing yourself, or therapy, and so on and whatever. None of that is a real answer to me. What is the original mark-making impulse? This morning my stumbling attempt to consider this brought me a stunning memory of a boy named Travis, who lived with his mom and 2 sisters in an apartment above me in Brooklyn years ago. The kids used to visit my studio all the time, and his sisters criticized Travis who was about 7, all the time for not knowing how to draw proper houses. He always used to draw just one particular shape over and over again. I thought, well - here's the real thing. This kid is an artist - and I told his mom to let him come down anytime. They moved away, or I did, I can't remember. But I used his shape today in my drawing.

9.6.13, self portrait without mirror 2 (with Travis' shape), graphite on pastel paper, 4x6"
©Karen Kaapcke 2013

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