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September 2013



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waiting room--the intimacy of sketching on the spot

waiting room, originally uploaded by Cathy (Kate) Johnson.

We've been discussing sketching in public on the Everyday Matters Yahoogroup--whether we're self-conscious, how we deal with the curious or with interruptions in general, what people think of what we're doing. (I try not to be TOO obvious--maybe I should wear dark glasses so they can't see where I'm looking!)

What I noticed this time, though, was how very intimate it can be, and how it can affect us. I am sometimes overly empathetic, but the young woman at lower right got to me.

She came in with her husband/boyfriend, as many others who passed through the waiting room did...tall and slender and rather beautiful, with a sweet Boticelli-angel face I couldn't help wanting to sketch.

We chatted a bit, at first; her words were as sweet as her face.

All seemed fine, then...but as I worked I began to pick up body language and attitude...and emotion. The boyfriend slouched sullenly and unresponsively in his chair--at first I'd just assumed he was tired, but there was more to it than that. My sweet-faced young model kept trying for a response from him...wordlessly touching his cheek, trying to get him to meet her eyes. He continued to frown and slouch, staring straight ahead, sinking lower into his chair...

At last she covered her mouth with her hand...and I saw a tear well up in her eye and roll slowly down that flawless porcelain cheek. She turned away from him, then, as if to hide her emotion--from him, but not from me. Now she was facing me, directly, and met my eyes with a world of pain in her own.

I can't know what was going on...I can only guess and empathize, and won't speculate, here. But I found tears welling in my own eyes, for her, and wished I could do something to take away a little of that pain.

Sometimes the intimacy of sketching IS dangerous...and very, very human.


That, I did, and have continued to...I know it helps. She haunts me, though...
That could take awhile...I've wondered about drawing a moment like this, that sort of freezes it in time...
I like that last thought...I think you're right. I used to sketch the boys out at the DYS camp, and they LOVED it. Really did make them feel that someone cared.


Beautiful post Kate.
You continue to pray for her and while you are busy giving...I'll say a little prayer for you, who knows maybe the boost will enable you to find your way through. ;)
Thank you, Anita! Sometimes all that's needed is a little boost!


so very true

Kate -- so very true -- each of us holds a novel in our souls ...


Re: so very true

We do indeed, girlfriend...


I haven't worked up the courage or confidence to sketch in a public forum yet....maybe one day. I often 'people-watch' though and have had similar experiences to the one you describe. Your concern comes from a caring heart and that's a good thing.

Hi Serena, and thank you for your comment...you know, I do recommend it, even when it's uncomfortable, like this one. It's a way of honoring our fellow human beings, respecting their individuality...
Apart from being beautiful....your work is just so peaceful and lovely. Thank you for gracing the world with it.
You are SUCH a lovely person! Thank you...
Oh, I'm no more lovely than anyone else. lol! ...but thank you, sweet friend.

Kate, I would like to do a feature article about you on my art blog. http://stacyalexander.blogspot.com

Would you be interested in that at all? I think a lot of my readers would be wholly inspired by your art. If you would, please write to me at bayarts4u at gmail to discuss it. Thanks.
And one of the nicest things about you is that you truly don't realize how much good your generosity of spirit and creativity does in the world.

I'd be delighted if you want to interview me, and I'll write you later today! Thank you...