Tag Archives: art archives

Portraits of Victoria, from 1986 to this weekend.

Remote drawing of Victoria Aronoff by Suzanne Forbes March 29 2020I feel like the drawing-through-Zoom thing is working!

At least for people I know, and I’ve known Victoria since 1975! We had a wonderful visit over Zoom on Sunday and I made this drawing, on Strathmore Toned Gray Mixed Media paper.

This one is on illustration board, from 1987.

Note the X-Men comic and the careful rendering of the china set my Mom had then!

Victorian 1986 by Suzanne Forbes aka Rachel KetchumThis is from 1986.

Can’t remember if it is a black and white study or this is a photo of a photocopy, I found it on the hard drive from my last attempt at archiving all my work, in 2010.

Victoria Fall 1986 19th st and 8th avenue by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne ForbesThis is a two-color watercolor study from Fall 1986.

Victoria was my primary model during my NYC art school years. She posed for a lot of portraits. This one was done at one of the Cuban-Chinese train car diners my Chelsea neighbourhood used to be full of. I used to give her downers to help her hold still, so her expression may be the result of a lot of Valium.

drawing of Victoria Aronoff by Suzanne Forbes 1993I did this one in January 1993.

I had at that point met and moved in with my first husband, Steve, and we were living in a big duplex in St. Paul. I think this was in NY, although Victoria lived in DC at the time. She came up to the city because I had gone to a comic convention in New York; I was just about to finally break into comics.

Rachel Ketchum with Victoria on Great Jones St. 1980Here’s Victoria and I in her mother’s painting studio at their loft on Great Jones St. in 1980.

Photo by her mom, the artist J. Nebraska Gifford. I was thirteen and she was fourteen. We would say we were staying at each other’s houses and just stay out all night wandering the Village.

Victoria Aronoff NYE 1995 by Suzanne Forbes aka Rachel KetchumThis is Victoria on New Year’s Eve 1995, in DC.

We had made strange and elaborate hats out of newspaper, and there was some kind of walkie-talkie game?

Victoria and Gideon Aronoff NYE 1995 by Suzanne Forbes aka Rachel KetchumAnd this one is Victoria and her former husband, Gideon.

You can see some of Victoria’s recent art on this guest post here. We are about to start a collaboration – I’m gonna embroider one of her drawings!

Only a couple of these portraits had ever been photographed; no modern media record of the rest existed – if we had a fire or flood they would just be gone forever. And of course, I am the only person who knows when they were made and why, the story of the moments in the pictures.

As a highly-vulnerable person with asthma and autoimmune illness, it seems more important than ever to document my life’s work. Not morbid, just pragmatic!

I am incredibly grateful to my Patreon Patrons, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to take time to document my art archives.

Black and white illustrations, from when I kind of had a style thing going on?

Graduate Drawing 2 for Tom Garrettt Illustration Class Fall 1990 Rachel KetchumIt’s hard to believe I could draw this confidently back then.

I would love to be able to make this kind of black and white drawing, made for Tom Garrett’s Illustration class at MCAD in 1990 or 1991, today.

Graduate Drawing 1 for Tom Garrettt Illustration Class Fall 1990 Rachel KetchumTom would give us an assignment and we’d do sketches and comps and finals, like real professional illustrators.

Somehow the repetition, and his charm as a teacher, let us cut loose. The final is the top one, the one above is the comp. And yes, this assignment was something like “Boomers vs Gen X”! Abandoned House Drawing 1 for Tom Garrettt Illustration Class Fall 1990 Rachel Ketchum

Look at this great horse I drew!

I still kinda wish I’d had a reason to put my skill at drawing horses to use at some point in my career.

Abandoned House Drawing 2 for Tom Garrettt Illustration Class Fall 1990 Rachel Ketchum
White inks or paints can react with the pigment in black pens to create blue or purple tones.

It happened with this long ago mixed media illustration, and some drawings of boylesquers I did here in Berlin a couple years ago. It’s hard to predict; it shouldn’t happen with quality materials, but it still does sometimes.

Tool Drawing with lace and smoke for Tom Garrettt Illustration Class Fall 1990 Rachel KetchumHow about this still life with a collaged real lace shadow?

What fun! The dark tones across are actual smoke – I still smoked cigarettes then, and I used matches or a candle to leave carbon on the board.

Tool Drawing with glue resist for Tom Garrettt Illustration Class Fall 1990 Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne ForbesThis one used plain white glue as a resist!

Then I washed over it with black acrylic paint. The glue areas remained white (although you can see the pencil drawing underneath). This is a great technique for kids, you can use carboard (so it won’t warp under watered-down paint) and kids’ tempera paint. Just make sure to let the white glue dry for at least a couple hours first!

None of these pieces have ever been photographed; no modern media record of them existed – if we had a fire or flood they would just be gone forever. And of course, I am the only person who knows when they were made and why, the story of the pictures.

As a highly-vulnerable person with asthma and auto immune illness, it seems more important than ever to document my life’s work. Not morbid, just pragmatic!

I am incredibly grateful to my Patreon Patrons, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to take time to document my art archives.