Jana

The hardest part is starting.  I take forever. I take a piece of paper and then I have to stand up make tea grab a cookie, do something before I pick up the pencil.  Once I picked up the pencil I still get up again and pace.  It’s as if I’m afraid of the white paper in front of me. Once I get going thought, I don’t stop. I use a 3H pencil and I don’t use an eraser till I have a sketch. I just draw a continuous line over and over till I find the shape.  I don’t even lift the pencil off the page that much.  Once I found the shape I want I take a darker pencil, or a colored one, and strengthen the lines I need. Sometimes I erase the extra lines, often I just leave them there.

I experimented with Jana’s portrait.  I wanted to try different colors (hence the greens and reds) and I also picked a picture of hers where her head is slightly up – for a challenge, you see.  Sometimes I surprise myself.  It looked nothing like her at the start, but somehow I think it looks like her a bit.  It’s tough, the picture I used for reference it’s not her best.  I also notice now that one of her eyes is not as open as the other one, but then I looked back at the original and that’s the case in the photograph as well.  Had I noticed that at the start, I would have probably opened both eyes the same.  I did that change in Annette’s portrait yesterday. Her eyes were half closed.

Jana’s one of my best friends.  We were both on the same softball team a few years ago, but we got quite close when we both had our sons 7 weeks apart. In fact I’m hanging out with her tomorrow.  She’s the nicest person I know who gives the biggest hugs.  I love her lots and I know this portrait is not flattering, but that’s not cause I making fun, it’s because I lack the skill to do it better.  I mean no offense. I’m just practicing.

Today was a tough day.  My son’s teething and we woke up really early.  I did sleep with him this afternoon, hence no drawing for me during the day today, but he took forever to go to bed at night too.  It’s not the lack of sleep, I’m worn out from listening to him whine all day.  I still made the portrait, so I’m glad.  I wonder how tomorrow will be since I’ll be out during the day.

Jana

Jana

Annette and Daniel

I tried to go for a more “artistic” color scheme in Annette’s portrait. Because she has such bright red hair, I used blues in her face, but then it didn’t really work well to light it all up with orange and ended up using some yellows.  Yellows didn’t really work in Daniel’s baby face, so I think in the end I used every color I had trying to get something that doesn’t look completely wrong.  The blue shadows are still there but not really complemented by the “official” complementary color: orange.

Annette is a really bubbly, happy, excited kind of girl, which is really not apparent at all in this portrait.  We had our babies 3 months apart, so we will force our sons to be friends.  They don’t really have a choice in the matter is what we tell them.  So far so good, though last time we got together there were some tears over Daniel’s rattles.

Annette and Daniel

Annette and Daniel

Meghan

Meghan surprised me with a knitted blanket for my son when he was born. It was one of the best presents I got.  And then I didn’t invite her to my son’s 1st birthday.  I thought about it and I thought I had good reasons for not inviting her.  She doesn’t have children, so I thought she’d be bored.  I know I was when I went to such a party before I had my son.  I have a very small place.  I really thought she wouldn’t want to come and then she’d come out of obligation. Oh well.  When I’ll have his birthday at a bigger venue, I’ll invite her.  I feel terrible, but what’s done it’s done.

Meghan and I have some things in common. She likes tea and cookies, knitting and crafting.  She can sing, she can dance.  She’s awesome. I can’t sing or dance. I only sing to my son and poorly too. She’s like me in the way that she has a soft spot for English culture and men in her case (she married one).  She sews the most amazing costumes and she’s the only mermaid I know and that’s probably the coolest thing about her.

Here’s Meghan.

Meghan

Meghan

Luiza

Luiza was and still is my first good friend in Canada.  She’s someone I can talk to about anything, someone I can be myself with.  We have a similar sense of humour and we can talk for hours.  We’ve had our misunderstandings, but whenever we make up, it’s like we never broke up.  There’s no awkwardness and I like that.

Here’s Luiza.  It does look like her and it doesn’t.  I’m still not sure what I’ve done wrong.

Luiza

Luiza

Breanne

I didn’t know how good I had it before I had my son.  To think that I’ve ever complained about being tired or not having enough time!  Nowadays I’m happy if I get to sleep till 7:00am.  Last night we woke up at 3:30am and we were up till 6:30am when finally my son’s battery ran out and he was ready to go back to bed.  I spent those three hours on the couch with one eye closed and one eye on my boy. I try sleeping when he sleeps, but somehow that’s not always easy.  My sleep cycle doesn’t seem to match his.  No matter how tired I am, I’ve never been happier.

Here’s Breanne, my beautiful friend who also dresses really well.  She’s the only other girl besides myself who stuck with the book club from the first meeting and because of her I’ve read some great books.

Breanne

Breanne

Genevieve

Two years ago, in 2010, Genevieve died.  We weren’t close, but she was a friend and I think had she lived, we might have gotten to know each other even better. After I stopped working at the company where I met her, I still saw her a few times for lunch and then she came to the first meeting of the book club a friend and I started (which is still going on, though only two girls from that initial meeting are still part of it).  That meeting was the last time I saw her and I remember how the two of us enjoyed the grapes and the cheese she had brought.  We were the only vegetarians of that group. This was in the fall of 2008.  After that, she found out she had cancer and I never saw her again.  I heard news of her from the girls who were still working with her and were still in the book club.  I heard she beat it, then I heard it came back.  I honestly thought she was going to beat it again, so I was quite shocked when I got an email saying that she was in palliative care.  Her death came soon after.  She was 31 — my age.  She was a beautiful girl with a great sense of style. She always looked great, had a lovely smile and was one of the nicest people I’ve ever known.  She was soft spoken, loved flowers and had built a beautiful garden.  The day she died I woke up.  I examined my own life and realized that I was wasting it playing computer games. Here I was healthy with “hopefully” a lot of years ahead of me sitting at a computer clicking a mouse.  I made some changes right away.  That day I quit computer games and started the “30 day challenges”.

As a tribute to her, because she always looked fantastic, my first challenge was to dress up every day for a month.  I’m a programmer, who wears jeans and t-shirts and no make-up.  This was tough for me.  I had to go shopping and buy some skirts, pantyhose (which I had none of) and high-heeled shoes.  I spent about an hour each  morning doing my make-up and hair. I watched youtube videos on how to do my hair and make-up.  Picked my outfits each night. It was quite an experience. It changed me. I held my head higher, I walked, talked and behaved differently. People held the door for me, noticed me, talked to me differently.  My coworkers were certainly puzzled and I honestly think my boss thought I was looking for a job and going to interviews, because my review came that month and when they offered me a raise, I did something I would have never done before. I returned it and told them to come back to me with something better. And they did.

Then I got pregnant a month later, so that put an end to challenges for a while.  I didn’t need them, I was being challenged enough. But I am going to start now, my fourth challenge.   My previous one, was a pretty tough one too: eat no sugar for a month.  It’s amazing how many foods have sugar added to them.

Today I start my “draw or paint a portrait a day” for the next 30 days.   Here’s Genevieve.

Genevieve