Monday, July 5, 2021
I am here.
In this space that is utterly my own.
In which I feel my confidence,
where I simply KNOW.
Even though I begin each new piece,
each new step
with a wondering: Can I do this?
Yet somewhere in me knowing
I will find a way.
I am here,
about to make my first marks
on this glorious large canvas
for Self-Portrait with Trees,
to honor them,
to give them my gratitude
for all they have given
to my life
and to my feeling of safety.
Entering this space
that is no one else’s,
here for no one but me --
except the workshops I will lead here
which are also for me,
for my own growing --
I feel as if I enter
through a magic portal
into the mysteries that are
ONLY WHO I AM.
I am so grateful
to all who have given me this great gift
for the furthering
of my own unique gifts
to my spirit
and to the world.
Thank you, all of you.
I am about to sketch out the face—eyes, nose, mouth, ears?
How large do I want the head to be? As large as I envisioned it?
I think I need to measure and then simply begin, however many mistakes I will make….
....After trying to draw my face freehand, enlarging it enormously, I discovered I couldn’t do it. I decided to take a photograph my sister took of me and blow it up on the computer and print it out. This is what it looks like right now on this canvas that is about 7 feet square!
[I am going to try to catch up to today, July 8. I won't transcribe as much for each day while doing so.]
Tuesday, July 6
I would love to get the tracing onto the canvas today. If I get that far, I'll be pleased. Then maybe tomorrow, I’ll begin painting the eyes! I hope so! We’ll see....
....So cool! I have traced most of her onto the canvas. Used charcoal. She looks old and hideous and crone-like and elder wisewoman-ish.
I still need to print out the top of her head and hair and the mouth again. This is so exciting!
She doesn’t look anything like me, but I don’t care. Maybe in time she will. Mostly, I love the size of her face. It feels just right to be peering between the tree trunks.
Will this be my last realistic self-portrait? I don’t know. Will I have the energy for something so large again? I don’t know. I do know that I cannot stop making art. It is a part of me.
It's beginning to feel as I envisioned it. I love the wrinkles!
Wednesday, July 7
This morning I printed out the mouth again and all around the head so I can get the shape and dimensions right. I want to sketch that, and I want to redraw the mouth, and then I want to begin to paint!
I AM TERRIFIED!! But I always am as I begin any piece. When it requires painting skills, I am terrified I won't be able to do it, I won't be able to SEE and my eyes/brain/hand communication just won't work. Also, because the face is so large, I know it will be far more difficult, and it's hard to read the print-outs. All I can do is the best I can.
I am also worried I won't have the stamina. I'm so very tired so much these days at 68, especially doing so much….
….I have finished tracing the top and side of the head and hairline. Spirit was absolutely with me as I did this because it is exactly the right size as it is. If I had been able to print out the larger size—which my laser printer would not do—it would've been way too large. Incredible!
I don’t have the energy to begin painting today. This was a big deal. But I’ll begin to gather materials to start painting tomorrow.
Thursday, July 8
I am very, very tired today. Thunderstorms last night woke me at three, and after dozing until seven, I did a bunch of connecting with the outside world this morning. Tried to read, mostly dosed until now: 2:30.
Part of it is fear, I know. I am terrified I won't be able to paint this. If I even get anything done today, just to begin, I'll be happy.
Really, a lot of me just wants to go and watch movies, and there’s nothing stopping me. I am on vacation. This is not a time to be pushing myself. I just know that, once I am back to work, I won't have the energy for much on Sundays — my one studio day every week — especially for painting. We’ll see.
I want to begin, just to get past the fear.
OK. I am going to pull out some possible brushes, position the print-out of her left eye, look at myself in my large hand mirror, mix some paint, and begin.
Wish me luck!
....I did her left eye! I like it!!
I feel better.
Now her right eye. Hold me steady. Give me stamina and focus.
Phew! Very hard....
....I did both eyes! And I love it! I want to bring a little more light into her left eye. Maybe do it right now....
....I did it. Better. Now the other eye needs a bit more work — the iris, is it called? Maybe needs more shading?
I want to start a blog. I really do. I want to not wait anymore. I want to put it on my Writing Your Way Home website. I want to chart the daily progress and feelings and process of this piece. I’ve spent my whole life waiting. For what? Seize the day!
This is terribly exciting!
Tomorrow I hope to do the nose and maybe lips. We’ll see. If I don't wake in the middle of the night again so get a horrible night’s sleep.
My hope was to get the whole face painted this week while I'm on vacation. Maybe it will work!
I can’t believe I am doing this!! But I am tired and I’m going to quit.
Now, I am caught up to today. I am going to try to keep posting daily during the days of my vacation as I make progress. I am so very happy I am doing this!
Thank you for reading!!