Today's drawing is a process. Two smudges to start the dialogue, not really knowing how else to draw a self-portrait, and thinking possibly to leave it at that. A graphite thought, or prayer, for this day.
Then, returning from a bike-ride to my doctor's office (just a checkup) I pictured myself sort of gently balancing between the two towers, but more like balancing between the memory. Very gently, I thought I'd have to slowly find myself in there. Because much as I would like to remain silent, I am in there.
Well, what I found was very sad, heavy. I also though sensed a growing lightness, hope, the love for the tender life that surrounds me - but still, held in balance by the two towers.
Here I recognized myself, appropriately fragile - but the towers were starting to vanish too much. After a few hours of thought I approached it again.
Well then - just when I thought it was done, and I took myself off to my studio for some other work, I was plagued by the literalness of the drawing. The towers too clear, for the meaning of it all has already transcended the event to include many tragedies of a similar deep order, as we here in NYC have become members of that unfortunate club. I left as soon as I arrived, to re-find the balance - between event, history and transcendence, between self and not-self, between the literal and the place where all loss can be found.
9.11.13, self portrait with double columns, graphite, 9 x 14"
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