Marja-Leena Rathje
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self-portrait marathon


self-portrait sketch in conte and charcoal

After being away a week, I've been catching up with my blog reading. I noticed a few bloggers posting a variety of self-portraits, especially Natalie. Now she has gone and challenged me to join in The Self-Portrait Marathon. At first I felt that that I couldn't possibly, I haven't done this in decades, I don't have time, etcetera, etcetera. But that little voice would not go away, so I dropped everything else, found sketchbook and my favourite drawing conte and charcoal.

My oh my, I've lost my touch - I used to whip up quick portraits that really looked like the subjects, and of course I was the most convenient subject sometimes. This is a good lesson indeed! Anyway, here it is before I chicken out. I'm embarrassed that it's not a great drawing and does not look like me. (I don't look that good!) According to the challenge I am to continue to take this further so I might do some digital manipulation on it next. Should be kinda fun.

How about you, dear readers - want to join in the fun? Check out the "rules" at crackskullbob's. You can see the self-portraits by the other marathoners on his site.

Addendum July 6, 2006: Here are the other ones that I've contributed to the self-portrait marathon: the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth and the sixth.

Marja-Leena | 14/06/2006 | 9 comments
themes: Being an Artist, Drawings


i know better than anything else that you look even better than that!

i'm proud of you for taking the time and courage to do this. i haven't seen a stand-alone drawing by you in years. maybe i'll do this too -- see how different it looks from the ones i did two years ago.

Glad you're joining in! But now I truly feel like a grasshopper among eagles.

Thanks Erika, you are sweet! And I was hoping you'd join the marathon!!

Dave, I would feel that way if I was joining in a writing marathon! Anyway, this "eaglet" won't eat the grasshoppers since I'm pretty rusty at this.

Beautiful, mine just look like cartoons.

Hei, Marja-Leena! You look lovely, and the drawing seems so effortless! Me? Toothpick and a cranberry on top is as far as portraits go. You got a talent there!

I'm so glad you took up the challenge. I like your drawing and it fits my mental image of you. This is turning into a great snowball exercise. All these people - over 40 of us now and growing - intently looking at/into themselves at the same time (well,in different time zones) and seeing such different things.

Janey, you are a skilled cartoonist!! Enjoyed looking at your site.

Tuovi, thank you. The drawing should have been effortless if I'd been keeping it up all these years. Your talent lies in your writing.

Natalie - it fits your mental image of me - really!? Wow. Yes, what a marathon indeed, I'm glad I've joined, thanks to you.

It's beautiful. And, looking at the photo of you on Chandrasutra interview, well, it looks a lot like you to me!

Artists who often do portraits and artists who don't, all mixed in with non-artists like me - it's great! Of course, I feel like Dave. But being the grasshopper is sheer fun, whereas I suspect, and know from what one blogger friend in particular has said, that this may be quicker to bring up very complex feelings for those for whom visual artist is a big part of your identity.

Hi Jean, thank you! I suppose us artists are most self-critical! You're right, it's a very interesting and intriguing mix of artists, illustrators, cartoonists, and photographers who may or may not do portraits. This exercise challenges us physically and mentally.

And I love your drawing for its very hesitant and shy feeling and the manipulated photos of yourself!