chocolate is a verb

colors, flavors, whims and other growing things

self

DAK self-portrait 12-1967My mother did hundreds of self-portraits. Most were more sketches than paintings, quick studies in ink, pastel, pencil, charcoal. Whatever more ambitious work might be waiting on the easel, she could always turn to the model in the mirror.

Each portrait captures something uniquely Dorothy — feature, gesture, expression, coloration — and they are almost universally unflattering. In these small pieces, she allows us to see the stark, the scrawny, the wrinkled and unposed self who would vanish into a wide smile in front of a camera.

This sketch, made when she was in her mid-50s, is an exception. Quick and sure, it is identifiably Dorothy, but while she is serious, she looks pretty — her hair smoothed, her glasses dramatic, her mouth painted and lush.

How I wish I could step back into that moment to know her brief happiness.

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5 responses to “self

  1. ccrooksphoto February 18, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Self -portraits are always so personal, so intimate, so brave and revealing I think. Good for your mom. These are treasures I’m sure.

  2. kristin March 3, 2015 at 9:26 am

    Ii wish photographs and paintings were portals we could enter. Probably it would result in a big mess.

  3. jik March 3, 2015 at 11:21 am

    I think they ARE portals. At least that’s what happens to me when I look at them. I go through, never knowing what I’ll find — sometimes not much, sometimes treasures. YOU do that, too. I’ve seen it!!

  4. kristin March 3, 2015 at 11:47 am

    I do! You’re right.

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