Tag Archives: portraiture

Work in progress: Painting Shakrah, while being photographed by Mirella Frangella!

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

Shakrah and I had our second sitting for the new portrait the day before I was in a bus crash.

Work in Progress portrait of Shakrah Yves by Suzanne Forbes June 2018It was very lucky timing, as we had also scheduled with amazing portrait photographer Mirella Frangella.

Mirella is a career photographer whose personal work focuses on intimate character studies.

My friend Miss Natasha Enquist met her when Mirella’s photos of gauchos in South America were exhibited at The Ballery.

Mirella did a shoot with Miss Natasha, and was looking for other artists to photograph. Natasha suggested me!

Mirella came to the house and photographed me in fancy clothes the week before last.

She wanted to do another session, while I was actually working, so we set up a time with Shakrah, who I had recently started a second portrait of.

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

I love Mirella’s work and her way of using available light and her handheld flash to capture a close and realistic view of her subject.

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

We were so relaxed and comfortable with her presence as she worked.

During the sitting, at one point Shakrah was lounging elegantly on my boudoir chair while Mirella shot some close-ups of me.

I looked up and saw her and I yelled, “THAT is the look!” and grabbed my brush to make superfast big changes to the painting.

I changed her pose from standing to sitting in about ten minutes!

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

As you can see, I changed the painting quite a lot. I don’t often make such big changes between the first and second sittings, unless some new aspect of my model just captivates me. Or I accidentally painted my model standing on the wrong leg, like in this portrait of my beloved Friend-Muse-Patron Ramon!)

WIP Portrait of Shakrah Yves by Suzanne Forbes first and second sittings 2018Somehow I feel like you have more of a sense of Shakrah as a singer in the new version even though I haven’t painted the mike in yet, like she’s pausing by your table in the cabaret.

You can hear Shakrah singing vintage jazz here and see Mirella Frangella‘s beautiful portraits here.

We had such a lovely time working together with Mirella, it was amazing. Once my hand is healed enough for the cast to come off Shakrah and I will reconvene and finish the painting!

You can see our first sitting here and the previous portrait Shakrah and I did together here. Thanks so, so much to my beautiful Patrons on Patreon for providing the monthly sponsorship that allows me to tell women’s stories and collaborate with women artists!

Woman-fronted bands at the opening of the Berliner Kultursalon!

Das Fluff at Berliner Kultursalon April 30 by Suzanne ForbesA new cultural and artistic venue has opened in Berlin, the Berliner Kultursalon at Forum Factory.

I went along to see my friends in Das Fluff perform, and caught two other bands with powerhouse frontwomen. Das Fluff, above, was the final act.

Two Times Twice at Berliner Kultursalon by Suzanne Forbes May 20 2018The opening band was Two Times Twice.

With a fierce, howling frontwoman!

Feline and Strange at Berliner Kultursalon by Suzanne Forbes May 20 2018The middle act was Feline and Strange, a steampunk two-person band.

Also with a fierce, howling frontwoman! Hell yes.

There were also some wonderful dancers and I made drawings of them which I will post soon! Holy heck this has been a busy, amazing, productive month!

Mixed media portraits of women.

Portrait of Anna May 3 2018 by Suzanne ForbesA fellow New Yorker came over to visit and was kind enough to pose for several hours so I could make a careful study of her beautiful face!

Portrait of Anna May 3 2018 by Suzanne Forbes detailI can hardly believe it was less than a year ago I was so scared of adding color to my drawings that I thought it was a big deal to buy one pink pastel.

Now I am routinely adding color. Not a lot, not every time, but I keep gently pushing myself to experiment.

The drawing below is of my Beloved Friend-Muse-Patron Monique Motil, who came here to spend her birthday with me and her sister Marie!

We were dining at Restaurant Lutter & Wegner sei 1811, an amazing Charlottenburg treasure.

I discovered this beautiful little gem of a traditional German resto when I was hired to live-draw at a birthday party there earlier this year. This time I had Spargel for the first time, with sauce hollandaise.

Although Spargel looks like zombie dildoes or White Walker penises, it is absolutely delicious. Monique and Marie by Suzanne Forbes West Berlin May 12 2018

Seeing my beloved Monique and spending time with her and her amazing sister was a glorious time.

yes this is miniature and yes I own it thanks to my mom who I shipped it to and who sent it to Monique so she could bring it to me.

She is a cherished friend, fantastic human, AND one of the most gifted artists I’ve ever known, as well as one of my longest-time collectors and Patrons.

She brought me fantastic art treasures as well as the miniature LEDS and miniature defibrillator for the Dollhouse Underground Laboratory.

I was able to go out and do things with M&M, in the daytime (!!!!!!), thanks to the wonder of the HRT treatment I’m taking for my menopause symptoms.

You don’t have to settle for a shit quality of life, uterus/ovaries-having women of a certain age. You can be stronger, clearer-headed, better rested, full of energy.

Aren’t you worth finding out if HRT is for you? It’s working for millions of menopausal women in the UK and Europe and for so many trans women every single day!

Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin delivers a gangbuster show for Berlin Burlesque Week!

Betty Fvck at dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 8 2018 second lookAnd I brought the drawing magic.

Check out Betty Fvck from Finland! Seriously, I am doing some of the best drawings of my career to date at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin.

Trixie Tassels 2 at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 8 2018Trixie Tassels at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 8 2018 detailThe superb models, the wonderful sets and music, and the gorgeous setting of Ballhaus Berlin all come together to inspire me profoundly.

Trixie Tassels, above and below, is a former professional life model.

She combined classic life modeling skills with her bombshell looks and amazing costume. What a fabulous treat!Trixie Tassels at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 8 2018

This show had more than fantastic showgirls- it had live singing by some of the best cabaret singers I’ve ever heard.

Among the many performances was an unbelievable version of “Fever” by Rachel Von Hindman, absolutely stunning. She sang classics from Cabaret too, with house-on-fire power!

Rachel Von Hindman at Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 8 2018Maya Full Power steampunk queen at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 8 2018I found Maya Full Power exceptionally lovely.

I was crazy for both her costumes, a steampunk princess and a hardcore full-on peacock look.

Maya Full Power at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 8 2018

And Betty Fvck had three different looks!

Sadly, I was only able to draw two of them.

Betty Fvck at dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes May 8 2018But I knocked it out of the park for both of them!

Mad kudoes to LalaVox and co-producer Syren Joey for this wonderful, wonderful time.

And I am so profoundly grateful to my Patrons on Patreon. Thank you so very much for making this sweet life possible by funding my art.

Anyone can help, for as little as a dollar/euro per month!

 

Saturday night at the KitKatClub.

Dancers by the stripper pole at the KitKatClub by Suzanne Forbes April 29 2018Always lots of sexy people at the KitKatClub!

This gorgeous ponygirl was dancing in her own world, perfectly happy.

Alex Dermatis at KitKat by Suzanne Forbes April 6 2018Alex Dermatis of 6mmjute was doing his usual suspension art with a lovely, friendly model.

We had a quick chat before he covered her in oil and gold glitter like a statue of a goddess.

Coat check at the KitKatClub by Suzanne Forbes April 29 2018Coat check can be a wait by 4am.

I passed the time drawing some of the lovely coat check staff. Other drawings from KitKat here and here 🙂

A Visit to the Vault – Self-Portraits.

Self Portrait Rachel Ketchum Suzanne Forbes Fall 1989 smokingI was trained in art school to archive and document my work.

But although I am a excellent archivist and curator (and collector and hoarder), I am a terrible photographer. I took photography in the analog days, and learned how to focus a camera and develop film, both in the Illustration Program at Parsons and in the Fine Arts Program at MCAD.

I hated it. At MCAD, having slides of your paintings prepared was part of your grade, and I got my boyfriend at the time to do some of the work. I still have very nearly all the art I’ve ever made except what I’ve sold, but even with the advent of digital cameras, I haven’t photographed very much of it. Until today, no photographic record of these works existed whatsoever. If we had a fire, they would just be gone.

Self Portrait Rachel Ketchum Suzanne Forbes Fall 1989I did scan a lot of what would fit on the scanner back in 2009, and you can find it here.

I find handling a camera physically exhausting and stressful, but scanning is just tedious.

Self Portrait Rachel Ketchum Suzanne Forbes Fall 1989 smoking detail faceA couple years ago my bestie Daria gave me a proper digital camera.

She had upgraded, and brought me her Lumix from her flat in Moscow (she made sure to change all the settings to English from Russian!) I hadn’t had one for a while and it took me forever to find out what kind of cable it needed to connect to the computer (Daria couldn’t find hers) and then to order it on eBay.

But the computer I had until January was an ancient Chromebook, and it didn’t have the power to run photo editing programs or any storage.

So I had another excuse to put off documenting the archives of work I have here in our flat and in my artwork storage locker north of the city.

Even though the pressure to do it has been growing for years, as much of it is on newsprint paper or cardboard and it is not archival.

In January a friend and patron gave me a new-to-me computer, a proper ThinkPad with vast memory. (As my friends and Patrons know, I hate to buy technology and hardware and almost always get it as gifts from my tech-loving loved ones!) It’s time.

I hope my patrons will find the process interesting; I plan to do one or two archive posts a month.

Self Portrait Rachel Ketchum Suzanne Forbes Fall 1989 smoking detailThese two self-portraits were done in my earliest painting class, I believe, in Fall 1989. I was 22.

It was a class I took when I was less than a year sober, waiting to get into the full-time BFA program at MCAD, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. I had gone to St. Paul, Minnesota to follow up my initial 34-day drug treatment for alcoholism and heroin addiction with four months in the Hazelden halfway house, Fellowship House.

Getting out of the halfway house, I decided to stay in Minnesota, as all the New York junkies I knew who went back to New York relapsed.

Self Portrait Rachel Ketchum Suzanne Forbes Fall 1989 2 detail braidSo I needed to finish art school in the Midwest, and there was only one: MCAD, a school much more focused on Fine and conceptual art than Illustration.

I took the painting class because it was in St. Paul rather than Minneapolis and I didn’t know how to drive or have a car yet!

I was just barely learning to handle the brush and the physicality of the paint and had done almost no work in color.

They are both on cardboard and are large, 18″ x 24″ (close to A2). I love them, honestly, for how fearless and crude they are!

One of them has another painting on its back, of Kathleen, a superb life model who did a lot of work for MCAD.

Portrait of Kathleen Rachel Ketchum Suzanne Rachel Forbes Fall 1989I am so grateful to my Patrons on Patreon for supporting my work.

I hope you find this process of documenting my history and development as an artist interesting!

A Tom Petty Tribute in Berlin.

Friends performing at Take it Easy Baby Tom Petty Tribute April 20 2018 by Suzanne ForbesMy friends organized a tribute to Tom Petty and performed his songs by the river Spree!

Hosted by Liliana Velasquez and masterminded by Wasp Summer aka Samantha Wareing, Rah Hell, and Miss Natasha Enquist, it was an amazing night of music. You can see them left to right above, bracketed by Baron Anastis and Joe Sparkle.

Liliana Velasquez at Take It Easy Baby Tom Petty Tribute by Suzanne Forbes April 20 2018Here’s Liliana, sharing some filthy and hilarious anecdote about how Tom Petty was the soundtrack to her teens!

I know you can relate. The man wrote some sexy music! She also said something I loved, which was that she’s not an expat in Berlin, she’s an immigrant. As are we. She hosts the Freudian Slip Club, among many other things in this city!

David Hawkins at Take It Easy Baby Tom Petty Tribute by Suzanne Forbes April 20 2018Check out David Hawkins singing his heart out!

He’s so multi-talented sometimes I forget he’s a rad musician too.

Rah Hell at Take It Easy Baby Tom Petty Tribute by Suzanne Forbes April 20 2018And the drummess sang! Rah Hell sang AND drummed on several songs. Most impressive!

The venue was the fabulous Marie Antoinette, which is right on the river. I felt a little disoriented finding the place amidst the darkness of riverside warehouses, but then remembered the website said it’s behind the BVG building.

And the BVG building is conveniently lit up with neon in the distinctive BVG piss-yellow!

The windows of the club look out over the water, and late night cruise boats and ducks went by all evening. It’s a really beautiful place to see a show.

Miss Natasha Enquist by Suzanne Forbes April 2018Here you see me working out the elegant lines of Miss Natasha Enquist’s look.

This was the first time I’d heard her indoors with decent quality sound and a live band backing her, and I could really appreciate her phenomenal singing. Check her out, seriously.Performers at Take it Easy Baby Tom Petty Tribute by Suzanne Forbes March 2018

Some folks I didn’t know performed too!

Including the amazing Ok!Chorus, which I didn’t draw because it’s like 30 people! Stephan Paul Taylor is on the right above, and that’s a quick scrawl of Joe Sparkle in the middle. More info and links coming soon! As always, I am so grateful to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to document Berlin life and art.

DJane Alice D., mistress of the hard beats, at Carneball Bizarre.

DJane Alice D and dancers at KitKat by Suzanne Forbes April 17 2018I was invited by legendary Berlin DJane Alice D. to come to the Saturday night party at KitKatClub.

I arrived planning to make a bunch of new sexy drawings for my art show at Other Nature, a fundraiser for Berlin trans* support services.

Dancers at KitKat by Suzanne Forbes April 6 2018However I was absolutely sucked in by the driving beat in Alice’s room.

I wound up staying there, drawing the dancers and just being in the music, for hours!

Young dancers at KitKat by Suzanne Forbes April 17 2018I drew these beautiful young people who were dancing, and the lovely young lady kissed me on the cheek when she saw it.

Good thing I am used to being kissed by gorgeous, sweaty, half-naked or naked young people at clubs and sex parties, or I would have fainted from delight!

Alice is a Burner too, and you can catch her djaneing on the Playa this summer – check her site for deets! As always, I am so grateful to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to document Berlin life and art.

Merlin’s Berlin at Monster Ronson’s!

Merlin Dietrich at Monster Ronsons by Suzanne Forbes April 14 2018Merlin’s Berlin is a queer mini-music-fest hosted by glamorous Merlin Dietrich.

Merlin Dietrich at Merlins Berlin Nr 6 by Suzanne Forbes April 16 2018I went to the sixth edition at the renovated Monster Ronson’s.

What a lovely time! I enjoyed all the acts tremendously. Merlin himself performed some of his amazing super-earworm gay love songs plus some cuts from his upcoming album. He is fabulously erudite and wildly sexy and his songs are mad clever. I was delighted to get a chance to draw him and Mr. Chips!

Wrench and Franks at Merlins Berlin Nr 6 by Suzanne Forbes April 16 2018Gentlemen troubadours Wrench and Franks performed pop songs from another century. They are so good!

You can see their cool animations here and their torch songs from times past here. They made a bananapants video for Merlin’s song “Flying Out to Berlin” with a creepy marionette which you can enjoy here.

Das Fluff at Merlins Berlin Nr 6 by Suzanne Forbes April 16 2018The headliner was Das Fluff, with a new lineup including dear friend Joe Sparkle and Angel Melodyhorn.

They were great! Frontwoman Dawn Lintern was in a truly spectacular outfit featuring a snakeskin corset and hoop skirt. She is a snarling, seductive, ferocious performer who leaves it all on the stage. If you want to catch the filthy, raging Das Fluff live show, look here – they are playing everywhere all the time, in London, Berlin and Japan.

Dawn Das Fluff at Merlins Berlin Nr 6 by Suzanne Forbes April 16 2018There was lots more at Merlin’s Berlin but I couldn’t draw it all, especially by the light of TWO disco balls. As always, I am so grateful to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to document Berlin life and art!

If you would like to see a very entertaining video and don’t mind having a song stuck in your head for the next two days, check out Merlin Dietrich’s video for Like/Unlike.

I have never in my life seen anything more charming than Berlin’s “Advanced Style” icon Günther Krabbenhöft dancing.

Full Moon Cabaret!

Viva Lamore at Full Moon Cabaret by Suzanne Forbes April 9 2018I finally made it to a Full Moon Cabaret!

My Hormone Replacement Therapy for menopause is working amazingly and I have more energy all the time. It’s simply grand! So when I was invited by the wonderful burlesque performer and producer Viva Lamore to draw at Berlin’s queer and wild woman-run burlesque show Full Moon Cabaret, I was happy to go.

Ms. Lamore hosted the event as a glamour unicorn, seen above. Although she did not perform any numbers, she demonstrated her burlesque powers in some sweet moves!

I had a lovely time.

Dancers at Full Moon Cabaret by Suzanne Forbes April 13 2018The music by DJ Don Rogall was terrific and in between acts there was much dancing, with some excellent dancers hitting the floor.

The venue, Diskothek Melancholie 2, is delightful and it reminded me of going to see my beloved Hubba Hubba Revue at the Uptown Oakland. In the drawing below, Violetta Poison, aka The Mexican Spitfire, teaches this blow-up man doll some manners.

Violetta is performing at Hubba Hubba San Francisco on May 11, follow her for news! Burlesque lovers can also enjoy about a zillion drawings I made at Hubba Hubba and other SF burlesque events from 2006 to 2013 here. Upcoming Full Moon Cabaret shows here!Violetta Poison at Full Moon Cabaret by Suzanne Forbes April 13 2018

Lolita Vavoom at Full Moon Cabaret by Suzanne Forbes April 6 2018Here’s co-producer Lolita Vavoom doing some beautiful work with fabric.

And Scotty the Blue Bunny performed although I didn’t have time to draw him! I did get a quick sketch of this rad performer, Rubyyy Jones!at Full Moon Cabaret Suzanne Forbes April 13 2018

As always, I am so grateful to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to document Berlin life and art!