I met SageSovereign on the street outside a nightclub in East Berlin.
It was a couple years ago; we were both crossing Warschauerstrasse from Monster Ronson’s to the U1 station and landed on the curb simultaneously. Then I stared at her, because she is one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen. We looked at each other, recognizing some deep New Yorker affinity and a clear aesthetic convergence.
I babbled, as I do when I first see someone I desperately want to draw, introducing myself, asking her name, offering my card. We agreed we should certainly collaborate the next time she was in Berlin (I think she was off to do fire performance on a glacier in Iceland, right then).
We got connected on Instagram and I saw pictures of her amazing performances.
She came back to Berlin at least twice, but we couldn’t sort out the scheduling. And then the pandemic began, and I tried to draw her during a video stream of an extraordinary performance piece she did at twilight early last summer. But the video quality just didn’t give me enough visual information. So when she messaged me to let me know she was modelling for terrific woman-run NYC life drawing group DistancedDrawing, I was thrilled!
I still long to draw her in person, but this was a wonderful opportunity to begin collaborating. I am so grateful to Sage for her fantastic modelling work and to Distanced Drawing for making it viewable to me in the middle of the night in Berlin!
You can follow Sage on Instagram here and her website is here.
My absolutely cherished Beloved Friend-Muse-Patron Clear was in town with his lady companion Jen.
I have a lot going on right now, and I still have strep, but I can work under damn near any conditions, and there was nothing on this earth I wanted to do more than have the sacred, precious drawing-time with these two. There is a connection when I work with people, when we sit together and I draw them, and we talk, that is like nothing else I’ve experienced.
It creates a bond, the bond between artist and muse, that lasts and connects. I get to see them through the merciful eyes of a Higher Power, illuminated by their beauty and character. Their faces move and shift, and the portrait is a gestalt of all the moments that pass between us as we work.
I say we because my portraits are a collaboration, the result of the work of being together and their work being visible to me. It’s the most precious and important thing I know. And of course it’s why I don’t do portraits from photos, only from life. We gotta hang out!
This image is the drawing halfway through, before I added pastels. My technique is evolving and developing in a very unorthodox way as I figure out how to “paint” with a combination of toned paper, chalk markers, greyscale and sepiatone markers, and pastel. I am figuring out how to make the drawing process additive-subtractive with these new tools. It means rather than pass/fail, this-mark-is-final, I can keep shifting as I would with a painting.
I described the changes that have happened in my drawing style since Clear came for my 50th birthday two years ago and brought me my first set of greyscale markers. How then my Beloved Friend-Muse-Patron of 44 years, Victoria, gave me a set of pastels and I started shyly, almost apologetically, adding touches of color. How Lydia loaned me a chalk marker at a life drawing session in her home in 2018 and I fell in love with its painterly qualities.
“It sounds like you’ve been iterating really fast,” said Jen, who is very smart as well as funny and beautiful. “Yeah, I guess I have”, I said. It’s the hothouse environment of my Patreon, I realized; it lets me feel so supported I can take risks. It was so wonderful to have this time with these two, and to document them together. Clear’s been commissioning portraits from me since 2006!
And this is the other portrait I did this week, of my husband at the visa office, where we got startling bad news!
He is always gracious about posing, even though he really dislikes having his picture taken and being seen or shown on social media. I’ve been carrying this little Kraft paper sketchbook around this week, and it was the perfect size for a quick drawing. Although I generally like to work as large as possible, sometimes a little drawing is just right 🙂