Tag Archives: watercolor

Sketching Project: Joe

Nearly a year ago, I joined Neutral Ground, a peer support group for people who are divorced, widowed, or ending a significant relationship. A non-profit organization, Neutral Ground has no religious affiliation and is open only to adults.

Actually, that’s not true.

A year ago, I Googled “Need Help During Divorce.”

It took me nearly 6 months before I got up enough courage to attend my first meeting.

That Thursday night, I sat in my car in the parking lot for over a half hour, bawling my eyes out, grieving too many things at once.

I’d lost the person I thought was my best friend, the person who’d promised to love, honor and respect me for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.

From the outside, it must have seemed like I had it all: a beautiful home in an affluent suburb; new cars to drive; a country club membership. We took regular vacations and owned a second home in Florida. I had fancy friends who threw fancy parties.

And yet.

I was desperately lonely.

No one is going to understand why I left, I thought. These people are going to think I’m nuts. 

But the thing is, they didn’t. The people at Neutral Ground made me feel welcome. Despite the fact that we’re all going through the same thing, we all process things very differently. Where one person is angry, another is sad. One woman misses the dog; another misses the snowblower. We listen to each other’s stories and monitor each other’s progress from week to week. We attend social events with each other and encourage each other to keep going. Every few months, there’s a communal dinner and everyone brings a dish to share.

It’s nice.

Not too long ago, I actually got to a meeting a little early.

(This doesn’t happen very regularly.)

Anyway, this guy was there.

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And I just so happened to have my backpack with all my art supplies inside.

He was kind enough to let me paint his likeness.

And he was extra kind to let me post it here.

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If you’re going through a difficult time in your life, I urge you to seek community. Everyone needs a place where they feel understood. Neutral Ground has been that place for me. We are not alone. We are never alone.

tweet me @rasjacobson

 

 

 

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Sketching Project: Chad

This is Chad, a student at Monroe Community College.

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A devoted husband and father, Chad’s back in school after a long absence.

He was kind enough to let me sketch him not once, but twice.

Because the first time, I royally screwed up his head.

And his ear.

And basically everything.

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After sketching Chad for the second time, a friend informed me that I’ve been using the wrong paper.

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“You have to use watercolor paper,” she told me. “Otherwise, it bubbles up.”

Who knew?

So I bought a new pad of paper, and guess what?

The right paper really makes a big difference.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was.

Having the right equipment is important.

I mean, I wouldn’t wear a bikini to go snowmobiling.

I wouldn’t wear stilettos to track practice.

And I definitely wouldn’t buy a volleyball and give it to my son to use at soccer practice.

(except that i totally did that one time. poor kid. soooooo embarrassing.)

The point is that I’m learning something new every day.

Sometimes, it’s about confronting a fear, trying a new activity, having a difficult conversation.

But sometimes? It’s all about the watercolor paper.

What tiny little thing did you learn today?

tweet me @rasjacobson

 

Painting More Strangers: Update On My Progress

As you know, I’ve been drawing/painting strangers in an effort to improve my emerging sketching skills.

Seems that no matter what I do, I gravitate towards a whimsical palette.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I’m learning that I have a style as an artist, just as I have a style as a writer.

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I sketched “Helene” at my local Barnes & Noble, and while she was flattered to have sat as my subject, she refused to be photographed.

At first I was disappointed. After all, I’d hoped to include real life photos along with my sketches.

But then I realized that Helene gave me a gift.

By not including her real-life photograph, I am able to appreciate that  – somehow – I managed to capture the essence of Helene.

According to Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours or roughly 10 years, to become a genius at something.

Not bad for 80 hours in.

How have you challenged yourself lately?

tweet me @rasjacobson