Saturday, April 29, 2006


and still sporting that scared "deer caught in the headlights" look an hour later...

Nah, all in all, it was an enjoyable experience. I was very nervous this morning as I drove to the appointment. I probably would have chickened out had there been a graceful way to do so. In the end, I am glad I faced my fears head-on and went.

The whole scenario was layered in metaphor. The feeling of vulnerability as I undressed and laid on the table was papable. My mind was reeling with thoughts on issues of trust and the intimacy of touch, and for a short minute, I thought my head would explode with all the dramatic thoughts running through my head. I wondered if they received any training dedicated to handling distraught very nearly menopausal old women who were not accustomed to being so pampered!

We talked a bit more than I expected, but I think that is exactly what I needed to help me be more comfortable. Next time, I'll be content to relax and listen to the soothing music.

Then I came home and drew this "self-portrait"-- which I feel entirely comfortable posting on the internet because I am not sure who that woman is. She bears very little resemblance to me, except her hair is too long for a woman of her age, as is mine, and her chin looks vaguely familiar. Did I draw myself, or did I draw symbols of myself, that is the question.

I've always wanted to draw, always believed I could do it, if I just had someone to let me in on the secret of how to do it. The real truth of the matter is that most anyone can do it. The problem is we tend to draw symbolically from our memory rather than actually looking at and studying the lines of whatever it is we are drawing. I remember in drawing class how our battle-axe teacher was always saying we needed to spend three times as much time looking at the thing we were drawing as we spent looking at our papers. Learning to draw is a matter of learning to see.

There is a classic book on the subject of learning to draw, Drawing From the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards. I am going to work through the exercises in the book and see what happens.

(BTW, I think the "deer caught in the headlights" look comes from the fact that I was concentrating so hard at putting down on paper what I was seeing in the mirror, trying to get the lines realistic. It really is amazing what happens when you actually look at your subject, rather than drawing from memory what you think a face looks like.)


  1. How interesting! I'm glad you enjoyed your massage. I always find it interesting that I don't mind paying a total stranger for a massage when it would seriously bother me for a friend to do the same thing.

    I like your self portrait. I've never tried that except as a very slightly detailed cartoon or two. You've inspired me to give it a try. (I am trying to paint. But as a painter, I find I am a good 'draw-er")

    BTW - I like your hair!

  2. You keep surprising me, Annie! You have some real talent in more than just photography. I learned to do portraits in a churchcamp when I was twelve. There's a bit of a "trick" in shading by rubbing the pencil strokes in with your finger. I have a hard time doing it any more. Well, the truth is I just haven't tried it in a long time, telling myself that glasses and my eyesight make it too difficult. You've got the "stuff", though, and maybe have given me a jumpstart to try one again......

  3. LOVE the portrait! Good for you! And I'm so glad you enjoyed your massage -- it will be even better the next time you go.

  4. I'm so glad you did this for yourself! The older we get, the more we need massage. I hope you do it on a regular basis and enjoy a good relationship with your practitioner. Don't be afraid to ask for what you need (such as no talking).



  5. Bravo to you there girl! Alas, I will be content here, drawing my stick figures.....those akin to the old fashion game of hang man!!

  6. Rach-- I think I am hooked!
    Do try the drawing. That book is supposed to be very helpful in teaching people who are not naturally talented at drawing...and I am definitely not. She (the author) insists it is a skill anybody can learn.

    Jim-- I have tried the shading with the finger trick and I like the results, except sometimes I shade too much! I have seen in the art supply section that they sell shading sticks (or stumps, I forget what they call them). Maybe that save some wear and tear on the fingers. You should try it again, especially since you have already learned some of how to do it. I find it very relaxing. I read today about a woman who first started drawing at 80-something after a stroke. I'll have to see if I can find the link...

    Linda-- Thank you!! Your own work has encouraged me to try work on my drawing again. It is very realxing. Today, the pencils--tomorrow, watercolors! I may be consulting you on your color charts...but not too soon...I still have a ways to go with the pencils!

    ellie-- You opened up the possibility that I might one day be able to do this for myself with your stories of your work. Thank you.

    Ayekah-- "draw" well enough with your photos!!

  7. When I started having massages it felt wonderful yet often I felt worse physically after. Once the massage therapist asked me why I kept coming then. I told her it was a healing thing to let a woman touch me without it being painful. My mom physically abused me as a kid. I don't think I had ever had tender healing touch from the hands of a woman before.


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