This drawing had three versions. Each time I went out, or worked on something else, or vacuumed, and came back to it feeling a lack. Not just not a recognition, but a lack. I wasn't contextualized at all - but I didn't want to be in a kitchen, or on a chair, or any of that. I sat down in front of the drawing, and out of the corner of my eye saw my square blue shirt. It's a chunky blue shirt, and I couldn't get it out of my mind's eye from that moment on. So I drew it. Reaching for a light color craypas for my arm, I took instead grey and following my rule of using what's in my box (it did look light though because of all the old pastel covering it) rubbed it in for my arm, and the way it reverberated was completely right, if not all wrong. So I kept it.
9.19.13, self portrait with blue shirt, ballpoint pen and craypas, 14 x 17"
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