Monday afternoon was beautiful, warm and sunny outside. My two older boys were happily engaged in backyard explorations and excavations, and the youngest was asleep. As I’ve vowed to try to make art in my spare moments, rather than fritter the time away, I thought this would be my moment. Since the year changed over, I’d been thinking about doing a self portrait for 2009. Again, no time like the present.
I set up with my yellow step ladder, propping a mirror between the paint shelf and top step, and another chair for me to sit on next to it. With the the sun at my back, I sat at a 3/4 angle to the mirror, some heavy paper clipped to my watercolor pad on my lap, and a box of old pastels perched on the ladder. Then I drew, sifting through the dusty pastels as I went, peeling the paper off as needed, trying to find just the right colors to layer together for the skin tones, clothes and background. These particular chalks were some I found in a Massachusetts flea market, the asking price $1, for what are probably antiques– judging from the flimsy tin box and the yellowed paper wrapping each stick that that reads ‘S M Paris’ . This was my first time putting them to the test, and I was pleased with the subtle and vibrant colors.
The boys eventually noticed what I was doing and came over to investigate the pastels and charcoal too, but soon went back to their game. At most I spent maybe half an hour or so on the drawing…a certain napper woke up as I was trying to finish. Sometimes short is sweeter, but I still didn’t get the nose quite right.