This is Blessed, my latest pencil portrait. She joins my collection of studies of old Vietnamese women whom I have drawn in graphite pencil, and she brings a sense of calm with her.
This universal pose, hands held as if in prayer or as a sign of reverence feel like a greeting and a blessing in one to me. And when I look beyond that, I see the hint of a smile on her face. This brings to life her personality and leaves me wondering what it is that she is thinking in this moment.
Once framed Blessed will be joining A Thirst for Life and A Lifetime of Laughter on my studio wall. These wonderful women keeep me company whist I draw, and remind me of all the good things that I have to look forward to.
I will be submitting Blessed and another portrait, which is yet to be drawn, to the Society of Graphic Fine Art 2022 exhibition. I hope that this portrait will catch the judges eye and that she can represent me in their show later in the year.
So the original artwork will remain with me for now, and I will soon have limited edition prints and greetings cards of Blessed available to purchase. I will of course announce the arrival of new prints and cards designs in my newsletter, and also on my website and social media.
During the first half of January I have been dividing my attention between this pencil portrait, Blessed, and two portrait commissions. Of course I will be keeping these tightly under wraps until they are with their clients, but I can say that each picture is very different from the others so it is fun switching between them.
You would be forgiven for thinking that I would have had enough of drawing wrinkles by now, but apparently not. I suspect that decades of social conditioning telling me that women should look eternally youthful and blemish free has encouraged this fascination with celebrating beauty in an older form. So here is another magnificent woman with her life charted on her skin, and I for one absolutely love how she looks and what she represents.
Blessed will join A Thirst for Life, A Lifetime of Laughter and An Age of Indigo to form a slowly growing collection of wonderfully aged women.
In both of these work in progress images, you may notice that the right hand side of the picture is further along than the left. I have favoured the right hand side initially as I am right handed, so it is easier to reach. I then turn the page upside down and work more on the other side. Turning the page upside down means that I do not have to reach across the drawing so much thus reducing the risk of smudging. And it has the added benefit of giving me literally a new perspective on the drawing which is a great help when observing as closely as is required here.
I will be sharing the finished Blessed with you soon, but for now, I will be losing myself in her delightfully wrinkly hands for a while yet.
My thanks go to Rehahn Photography for his beautiful reference image.