now we are forty

40 Selfies part 1 sm40 Selfies part 2 sm

Hello there. What’s the meaning of this? I’ve been away from the blog for a few weeks, and in the meantime I have been doing a lot of writing, a lot of sketching, a lot of making evil eyes at my failing computer, oh and a little bit of aging. I turned 40 earlier this month (that’s “forty” as they would clarify on the football vidiprinter). So to celebrate, or whatever the word is, I decided that I would draw forty 5-minute-selfies. That’s forty “five-minute-selfies” not 45 minute selfies, as in 45 selfies that are really really small. Though I would do that. Perhaps when I turn 45. Forty by the way is not the new thirty. Unless there are ten years of my life that I can’t remember, it’s definitely still forty. It’s been a good forty years. I have spent just over ten of them in Davis. A couple were spent in French-speaking countries, and three on leafy Hornsey Lane. The rest were all in Burnt Oak, on the Edgware branch of the Northern Line. So, forty. I ate duck, had a cake very much like my favourite doughnut, and even watched some Super Bowl making every single possible variation of Superb Owl / Brilliant Pigeon / Amazing Falcon joke possible. By the way, I don’t care if I repeat jokes, ever. Now I am officially forty I can do this with some enjoyment. So next year, I think before the Superb Owl I will draw a whole series of different birds with varying qualifying adjectives of superbness. This is my ambition for age 41. So, forty. I went to New York; that was a surprise, I wasn’t expecting that. I will blog about that, because there are sketches of course, though not that many because it was the coldest ever. Like, honestly record cold conditions. And still I sketched, because I’m well ‘ard innit. So, forty selfies. Because I am working on a project involving five-minute people sketches (I’m drawing five tiny sketches of people) (actually I might do that) I figured that for turning forty (did I mention that?) I would draw, well you can see. So! Various different styles, all done very quickly, usually looking in the bathroom mirror (except for the odd obvious one looking at my iPad). And they are all of varying degrees of accuracy from “not much like me” to “pretty much like me”. By the way, the wrong thing to say when looking through an artist’s sketchbook full of quick rapid self-portraits, particularly an artist who primarily draws fire-hydrants, is “that doesn’t look like you, that doesn’t look like you, that doesn’t look like you, that doesn’t look like you…”.  Cheers! But I did keep it up. Self-portraits are weird – they quite often don’t look like you, because most people don’t see you in the same way you do when you look in the mirror. they see you from those different angles you cannot see, and the few times they have the mirror-view it is even then at a different angle from the one you see. When you sketch yourself, you aren’t sketching yourself in action, smiling, chatting, eating, relaxing, but always in staring mode. It’s odd. But I kept it up. Some are single-line sketches, some are in coloured pencil, some are with watercolour wash, some are with thick marker pens. I really like #29, #5 (unlike me physically but looks like me in a weird way), #9, #40, and a few others but here’s the thing. They all count. Even #11. They’re a bit painful to look at, and a bit scary to show. But they all count. When mixed together they pretty much all make up me. I think I learnt a lot from this, a lot about self-observation, a lot about what I can keep in or keep out.

So forty. Life begins at forty. It doesn’t, it begins like way before then, but we’re here now, so cheers folks. My brother, now he turns fifty this weekend. Happy birthday Perks!

the way we used to be

NaNoDrawMo 50

While I’ll be posting the remaining set of NaNoDrawMo pieces altogether shortly, I thought you might like to see #50, the final one. It’s a self-portrait, although admittedly a few years have passed between the photo being taken and the drawing being drawn. I have had a haircut since then, and wear glasses, and I’m sure those dungarees don’t fit any more. No this is me aged about three, demonstrating why I keep my hair short (so as not to look like a diagram of the Atlantic Summer Hurricane Season). Hair is a bright red, eyes a bright blue, cheeks a bright pink; nothing’s changed there! I’m still as sweet. I still remember this face though, having to stand on the chair to see it in the mirror. This face makes me think of the Mr.Men theme music, by far my favourite show when I was a little one. Drawn in uniball signo um-151 pen (two sizes, 0.28 and 0.38) in a big Moleskine.

life is never dull, in your dreams

sc31 bay bridge

I left the Mission district with ages to spare (BART being a lot quicker than I thought, for some reason) and hung out by the Embarcadero for a while, watching the sunlight fade, and sipping an Anchor Steam beer on the outside terrace of the Americana hotel. Proper San Francisco beer for the end of the day. I sketched the Fery Building, glowing in the evening sun, and as the lights went on on the Bay Bridge I sat by the water’s edge and used the white gel pen to capture it.

sc31 ferry building at sunsetsc31 anchor steam

On the Amtrak train coming home, I read the comics I’d bought and flicked through the day’s sketches. there was time for one more; so I looked at my reflection in the window and sketched that.

sc31 self portrait