I thought about ending on my birthday, the 27th. I took a day off, which felt odd. Then took the next day too - but by the 29th, it became clear that the drawings were giving me too much to stop, and that the need to do them was still there. The well that opened up by ceasing to use a mirror and by starting working in ballpoint pen was profound, and needs to be respected. On my birthday we had good friends over for drinks, and Meg was looking through the portfolio of drawings - she stopped at one that has a lot of yellow in it, and said that it was stunning to her, because she hates work that uses such yellow, and yet here it was not just successfully used but movingly used. Today, after drawing but knowing that it wasn't finished, I brought the yellow over to my mouth, and thought of her. And later, I realized that 'yellow mouth' can be another way of saying 'lier' - which, in a sense, I am. Because I said I was going to stop drawing these every day, and I am not; I lied.
9.29.13, self portrait with yellow mouth (for Meg), ballpoint pen and chalk, 3x5"
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