Tag Archives: portraiture

New portrait painting in progress: Sebastian in brights.

Portrait of Sebastian by Suzanne Forbes work in progress Oct 30 2018I am super pleased with how this portrait of a new friend is coming along.

Portrait of Sebastian by Suzanne Forbes work in progress Oct 30 2018 detailSebastian is a circus performer and producer who comes from the Oz steampunk scene and has some fabulous outfits.

He calls this one his “Snow White” colors and I love how the brights pop against the soft colors of the salon.

I have had more of a challenge finding people who are into dressing up for fun in Berlin than I did in the Bay Area. This isn’t a dress-up town, alas.

I love people who love clothes and fashion and performative identity and was happy to find another collaborator!

Above is after the second sitting. Here’s after the first.

Using a canvas toned gray the way Sargent did has speeded up my painting even more. You can see the edge of the gray along the right side below!

Portrait of Sebastian by Suzanne Forbes work in progress Oct 30 2018 first sitting

This portrait will be done in one more sitting I expect.

And then I need to get back to the painting of Shakrah, which was interrupted for a long spell by the bus accident and my hand injury!

 

A portrait of the artist’s mother on the River Spree.

Portrait of Pat Ketchum on the River Spree by Suzanne Forbes Oct 24 2018My mom came to visit and we went on a boat!

We took one of the widely available and affordable boat cruises on the Spree, the river that winds around Berlin. It was a beautiful October day, and the river is incredibly peaceful. There’s pretty much nobody on it but cruise boats at this time of year! We sat by the windows and looked out at the city I love so much. My mama is holding an audio aid to her ear, learning about Berlin landmarks.Portrait of Pat Ketchum on the River Spree by Suzanne Forbes Oct 24 2018

I want to do portraits on the boat all the time now, it’s so restorative!

If you want your portrait drawn or painted, on a boat or elsewhere, you can learn more here.

Hansel and Gretel at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin!

Evilyn Frantic as the Witch Dr Sketchys Berlin Oct 24 by Suzanne ForbesSecond in the Fairy Tale series, and full of witchy goodness.

I had a lovely time as always at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin. Wonderful costumes and posing by models Banbury Cross (Gretel), Hedoluxe (Hansel) and Evilyn Frantic as The Witch.Banbury Cross and Evilyn Frantic Dr Sketchys Berlin Oct 24 by Suzanne Forbes

Hedoluxe and Banbury Cross at Dr Sketchys Berlin Oct 24 by Suzanne ForbesAt one point the witch got a bit less clothing, in gorgeous vintage lingerie.Evilyn Frantic as the Witch en dishabille Dr Sketchys Berlin Oct 24 by Suzanne Forbes

Co-organizer LalaVox and The Narrator, Marijn van der Waa.
LalaVox and Marijn Van der Waa at Dr Sketchys Berlin Oct 24 by Suzanne Forbes

My mom was here visiting and got to see the beautiful and historic Dr. Sketchy’s venue, Ballhaus Berlin.

Thanks again to Le Pustra, LalaVox and all the performers/models/crew for another lovely time at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin! Here’s the Insta 🙂

and thanks so very much to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to make art!

Here’s the previous Fairy Tale session, Baba Yaga, posts one and two, and

previous Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin:

Viva Lamore, Ă  la Baroque

Betty Fvck, Trixie Tassels and More, Berlin Burlesque Week

Broken Baroque

Victorian Spiritualist edition with Valentina Demonia and Syren Joey

More Victorian Spiritualist edition

Weimar Berlin, with Le Pustra and Bridge Markland

More Weimar Berlin

and my first Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin with Viva Lamore, Syren Joey and live painting outdoors!

Das FlĂĽff “Anxiety Dreams” release party at Monster Ronsons

Das Fluff Anxiety Dreams release party at Monster Ronsons Sept 28 2018 Suzanne ForbesI was feeling wrecked but I got myself out the door to see Das FlĂĽff, because I knew I would be glad I did.

As always, frontwoman Dawn Lintern and her lineup of sexy Gen-X rockers burned the place down. Wendy, on bass, is a woman Dawn played with in their twenties, and they were back on stage together in the 21st Century, making post-punk electric filth!!

Dawn and Misty at Das Fluff Anxiety Dreams release party at Monster Ronsons Sept 28 2018 by Suzanne ForbesFormer bandmate Misty joined in for a bit to spell Joe Sparkle, recovering from some time in hospital. I drew him with Das Flüff the first time I saw them so it was fun to draw him again 🙂

Rah Hell films Dawn at Das Fluff Anxiety Dreams release party at Monster Ronsons Sept 28 2018 by Suzanne ForbesHere is Rah Hell being the videographer!

Seeing a woman my own age dominate the stage and growl and rage was good medicine this week. Das FlĂĽff always sounds amazing and leaves it all out there. You can buy the new album “Anxiety Dreams” here, follow on Instas here and check out the upcoming London and Vietnam tours here. Thank you, Dawn, for being an inferno of sound and fury. I needed it.

More drawings from Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin Baba Yaga session!

Marin van der Waa Narrates at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes sept 23 2018Marijn was the narrator, reading a spooky fairy tale in a voice that filled the room like smoke.

I have drawn Marijn before at Dr. Sketchy’s and was pleased to be able to do so again. Having a narrator really added to the experience of the show! Marijn is an illustrator herself, and you can follow her on the Instas here or check out her website here.

Women artists at Dr Sketchys Berlin Sept 27 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI also drew some of the artists this time!

I wound up sitting right next to the organizer of Berlin Museum Crew, artist Samantha Stover, (her mane of 60s movie star hair was covering her face alas!) and several other young woman artists. That’s Lucille Lehr with the two-colored hair! Plus my dear friend, artist and art teacher Giulia Caruso, was just a few seats away! That’s her with the fuschia streak and tattoos 🙂

Models at Dr Sketchys Berlin Sept 21 2018 by Suzanne ForbesAnd the one sketch I made of the other model besides Valentina Demonia, Hurricane Irina !

Another amazing Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin, thanks to LalaVox and Le Pustra. So excited for the Hansel and Gretel session, October 21 at Ballhaus Berlin!

More drawings from this session here; previous Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin:

Viva Lamore, Ă  la Baroque

Betty Fvck, Trixie Tassels and More, Berlin Burlesque Week

Broken Baroque

Victorian Spiritualist edition with Valentina Demonia and Syren Joey

More Victorian Spiritualist edition

Weimar Berlin, with Le Pustra and Bridge Markland

More Weimar Berlin

and my first Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin with Viva Lamore, Syren Joey and live painting outdoors!

Thanks so very much to my Patrons on Patreon, and welcome to the new Patrons who joined this month! You make it possible for me to make this art and share it open source, licensed with Creative Commons for all to share, print and enjoy.

Witch Power at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin.

Valentina Demonia as Baba Yaga by Suzanne Forbes Sept 23 2018 detailsI was sooooo excited about the Baba Yaga session at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin.

And as always, LalaVox and Le Pustra came through with a gangbusters event. There were a variety of marvelous models in wonderful costumes, but in my current mood, I only had eyes for the witch.

Berlin performer Valentina DeMonia as Baba Yaga just thrilled me!

Valentina Demonia as Baba Yaga by Suzanne Forbes Sept 23 2018 It was so great to draw her in her cocoon of power and hair.

Valentina Demonia as Baba Yaga by Suzanne Forbes Sept 23 2018 with staffValentina Demonia as Baba Yaga by Suzanne Forbes Sept 23 2018I used my Canson Mi Teintes toned paper, my Faber-Castell PITT brush pens, dark umber markers, black oil pastel, white pastel and white gel ink pens to make these drawings.

Valentina Demonia as Baba Yaga Suzanne Forbes Sept 23 2018 kraft paper 2And I drew these little ones in a Kraft paper sketchbook.

Valentina Demonia as Baba Yaga Suzanne Forbes Sept 23 2018 kraft paper 1Thanks so very much to my Patrons on Patreon, and welcome to new Patrons S. and I. who joined this month! You make it possible for me to make this art.

Drawing portraits of young Berlin folx at queer art space Ludwig.

S at Ludwig Sept 7 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI went to our much-loved art hangout Ludwig on Friday for my friend Sue’s birthday.

Sue is an artist and curator and we have done lovely art events at Ludwig, however this time we were just checking out the current show and chilling. I made drawings of some friends who were there. S. was wearing their internal clitoris necklace from a local Berlin artist!

Super pleased with this likeness of E., who I was meeting for the first time.

E at Ludwig Sept 7 2018 by Suzanne ForbesAnd as always, incredibly grateful to my Patreon Patrons, for making it possible for me to make portraits of these Berlin folx and share them. 

Ok not much else to say cause I got SO MANY drawings to finish and scan and post from the rest of this Big Gay Weekend!

From the Vaults: Courtroom drawings and the Case of The Frozen Head.

St Paul Russian gangster trial courtroom drawing by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes approx 1992So you all know I used to be a courtroom artist.

It’s the only job I’ve ever had where people would immediately say, “Oh, that sounds so interesting!” and I would say, “Yes, yes it is.” It was also deeply traumatic, and wildly challenging, and sometimes deadly boring (embezzlement or early days of DNA testimony).

One of the more disgusting but less traumatic cases I worked on involved a pair of Russian gangsters who had moved to suburban St. Paul.

They were best friends, and their wives were best friends, vacationed together and so on.

An attorney courtroom drawing by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes approx 1992But all good things must come to an end, and some business rivalry caused one of them to shoot the other, chop off his head and hands, and dump the body in a lake.

At this time, around 1992 or 3, I was driving a 1991 Toyota Corolla. It was a dealer demo return but still the closest thing I’ve ever owned to a new car, and only my second car.

So I was extremely proud of it and kept it clean, visiting the carwash downtown after a day working in court.

Back to the trial: the cops found the slushy head in a partially frozen lake, and eventually arrested the Russian gangster guy.

St Paul Russian gangster trial courtroom drawing by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes ca 1992 detailHe was not the coldest human I ever saw in court, but definitely a really vicious sociopath. I have a drawing of a forensic pathologist using a pointer to indicate gunshot wound and axe marks on a slide of the decayed head, the headsicle if you will, but I can’t find it yet.

The prosecution utilized the shockingly cavalier way many murderers talk about their acts.

This guy was really just like, so he got the lease on the laundromat, so I chopped off his head. They always talk about it like, “Well I just did what anybody would you know.”

The thing is, the thing is, the guy put the body in his trunk to dump it. And then his nice suburban car was all bloody, so he took it to a carwash to be cleaned up.

He told the guys at the carwash that he had killed a deer. Not so unusual, in Minnesota.Witness courtroom drawing by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes approx 1992

You know what, my dear ones?

It was my fucking carwash he went to. The guys testified and everything.

Narrator: And she never went back to that carwash. 

Only the top drawing is from the Frozen Head trial; I have no idea where the other two are from. I made hundreds of courtroom drawings from 1991 to 1993, and I have only a fraction of them. I was constantly selling them to people involved in the trials, prosecutors and defense attorneys and DNA experts and ballistics people and so on.

I didn’t have a camera, and of course there were no camera phones. So until this moment, the only documentation of these drawings that existed was the footage the WCCO-TV cameraperson shot for the night’s news. And the station kept all that footage on BETAMAX tape. So,

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.

Until today, no modern media record of these drawings existed – if we had a fire or flood they would just be gone forever.

 

Extravagant Shambles, a packed-house cabaret in the North of Berlin.

Cadbury Parfait at Extravagent Shambles by Suzanne Forbes July 24 2018I’d been hoping to draw beautiful performer Cadbury Parfait for months, so I was delighted when she invited me to her first cabaret production.

It was my first time visiting Wedding venue 800A, and it seemed like everybody else had decided to go too. Above, Cadbury Parfait performing as Cleopatra! Scotty the Blue Bunny at Extravagent Shambles by Suzanne Forbes July 24 2018Here’s Scotty The Blue Bunny head and shoulders above the fray before the show.

It wasn’t the most crowded club I’ve ever been in, but it was pretty close!Sarah Tonin and Ruby De Cadence at Extravagent Shambles by Suzanne Forbes July 24 2018

There were a variety of performers, and an MC called Sera Tonin.

Ruby de Cadence is on the right, shaking it! Speaking of shaking, it was warm in the club but I got an excellent shaken iced coffee at the bar, where I ran into one of my hub’s former colleagues working. The bartender was kind enough to wash the cocktail strainer to make sure it had no traces of alcohol, when I expressed my concern.

More shaking it, from queen Noeline la Bouche!!Noeline la Bouche at Extravagent Shambles Suzanne Forbes July 24 2018

Dancers at Extravagent Shambles by Suzanne Forbes July 24 2018I didn’t get to draw everybody, but I got most of the performers.

Here is Mademoiselle Rififi on the left and Elektra Bellefleur on the right, above. I love burlesque names. I hadn’t been to live drawing at a burlesque show in ages, and I had such a lovely time. Thank you Cadbury for having me as your guest!

And thank you, my Patreon Patrons, for making it possible for me to do this work and draw these beautiful people!!

I make this live event art and share it for free because of my Patrons, and anyone can help for as little as a buck a month.

Lots and lots of my Creative Commons licensed, free, shareable burlesque drawings are here on flickr.

First unterwegs of the summer! Post-accident, drawing on the train again.

Unterwegs July 20 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI couldn’t draw on public transit for quite a while.

Plus, I have become quite cautious about using the bus, always making sure to be seated and holding a rail or handle before the bus starts moving.

Which means I have to hustle; part of the efficiency and speed of the bus system here is that the bus driver does not wait for you to be settled and secure. The drivers just take off after a certain number of seconds, even if there are older folks looking for seats. They do pause for wheelchair users and baby carriages to get arranged and strapped in the wheeled area, at least.

Unterwegs July 19 2018 by Suzanne ForbesBut everybody else is on their own, and passengers are alert to help seniors and mobility aid users find a seat and be safe. So someone like me, who looks perfectly healthy, is not accorded any concern whatsoever, and my scramble to be seated in the regular seating may look a bit unseemly or neurotic.

I don’t care, because my hand feels terribly vulnerable, and it’s my job to protect my livelihood and my ability to contribute to society. I didn’t take transit much at all while I had my cast on; it’s only the last week or so I’ve been out and about.

This Tuesday was the first time I brought my drawing kit with me since the accident. It was fantastic to sit and draw from life again, I felt like a horse let out of a stall, running around the paddock like a fuckin maniac. Drawing isn’t “fun” or pleasure for me – it’s the exercise of the strongest muscles, the best skills I have, and using those skills is like working out.

It feels fantastic to use these powerful muscles, and at the same time it feels like work. Doing my job. Telling people’s stories.

I was put here to do this work, I believe, and doing it again makes me feel useful and strong. On Thursday, headed to the Drummess Jam, I was so caught up in working on the top drawing I didn’t realize I’d taken the wrong train til I had passed several unfamiliar stops!

Thank you, my Patreon Patrons, for making it possible for me to do this work and tell these everyday human stories. I am so grateful to be back to work.

Previous unterwegs are here:

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018 bonus round

February 2018

January 2018 bonus round

January 2018 round 1

December 2017

November 2017

September 2017

July bonus round

July

June

May bonus round

May round one

April

March 2

March

January

December

November