Cousin Joe

Cousin Joe

Meet Cousin Joe!

Cousin Joe is the youngest of Aunt Marie’s children and the only one who lives in Chicago. Not only he lives here, he serves and protects. Cousin Joe is a detective with Chicago PD. I am majorly impressed by that. Joe is wonderfully honorable and trustworthy, you can depend on him when the going gets tough (we know – we had to at one point), and he is very kind. I tried bring these things into his portrait, but didn’t really know how. My drawing teacher says that sometimes you just need to hold something in your head without trying too hard, your eye and your hand will find the way to convey it on paper. Excluding the know-how, without intellectualizing, leaving the all-so-important brain activity out of it. So that’s what I did. You tell me if it worked.

As it happens Cousin Joe and his family are the only family of our age group who live close and by proximity available for barbeque party, beach outing, or back yard beer tasting and shmoozing. What’s not to like!

#14 of 40. Graphite, Moleskine Cahier sketchbook.


4 thoughts on “Cousin Joe

  1. Joe looks kind. I can picture him a civil servant. You have also made him appear wise. I agree with your drawing teacher. There comes a time when your left brain will be quieted by the joy you experience in communicating through your images. The fact that you are thinking about these things in relationship to your images means to me that you have accomplished a level of skill and might be beginning to say, “Is this all there is to it?” At some point you will see something some other artist has done in their communicating that you really like or you will make a happy accident where you say, “What the heck, I kind of like that!” and add it leave it in your work. Your hand will become a victim and servant to right brain instead of your left brain and the left brain will feel such relief that it bows down and helps your inspiration lead the way. You have come a long way in such a short period of time. Nice portrait!

    • I love your message to me, Leslie! Read it several times! That’s the joy and the nightmare of portrait making, that’s what we are discussing here, among other things. First comes anatomical correctness, then – likeness. And then the most difficult part – the inner world of the person. Who is he or she? Trying to convey that through a static and silent image is an enormous task, but the one that is so worth it.

      I am glad to hear that you are in agreement with George, my teacher, about the right brain wordlessly participating in the process. It is good to have more than one teacher vouching for the same point. I have experienced glimpses of it, but not too often. One episode comes to mind: I was sketching a marble bust in the Art Institute. I decided the marble person was female based on curls, gentleness of the face and head cover. I have not read its plaque though. I was having trouble with my sketch as the drawing looked more and more male on my page no matter how hard I tried to coerce it into femaleness, but still maintain the likeness. I gave up after an hour, allowed the drawing to be whatever gender it wanted to be, and went to read and copy down the label. It was Paris by Antonio Canova! I was speechless! My eyes and my hand knew better than to trust my opinion. I will never forget that.

  2. I like cousin Joe! The husband (mine) is a detective with the NYPD so I know it takes a very special person to do that kind of work and your portrait of Joe portrays a strong, yet sensitive and kind man.

    His eyes show a man who has seen a lot. (no doubt) but he also seems like a sweetie. (I’m probably a bit prejudiced!)

    Maybe you should do a portrait of him in uniform next time. Or is he “undercover”???? LOL!

    You are shaming me in the amount of portraits you have for your sketchbook. Now that I’m back from vacation I better get crackin’!

    • Aw, thank you so much, Carol! Joe is a teddy-bear around the family, he is easy and kind and fun. I’ve never seen him in his full policeman mode, but judging from little snippets I am aware of, he is a no-nonsense kind of an officer. I don’t know if he works “undercover” or uniform, he separates work and family exceptionally well, there’s never a shop talk at the family gatherings. Which is only proper, as you know. Talking about being prejudiced – me too! I love Joe.

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