Graphite, Carbon Black and White Chalk on Grey Paper, 16″ x 16″


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Graphite, Carbon Black and White Chalk on Grey Paper, 16″ x 16″

This is a portrait of my “niece” Francis. She’s actually my wife’s cousin’s daughter, which would make Frances her first cousin, once removed… but it’s just easier to say “niece”.

I like Frances. She’s a good kid, and I knew early on that I wanted to draw her portrait. She was around 5 years old when I asked her to sit for some reference photos, and she reluctantly agreed.

But then, for reasons I still don’t understand, she decided to take off the sweater she was wearing over a turtleneck. That caused her hair to become all charged with static electricity, flying out in every direction. “This is gold!”, I thought, and started snapping photos.

The next few minutes weren’t helpful. Frances was all hyper and hamming-it-up for the camera, making faces and acting generally… well, like a five-year-old. None of it was useable. It wasn’t until I told her to just look at her dad, who was standing nearby, that she suddenly calmed down, and I could capture this moment.

It’s still one of my favorite drawings, and is currently in the permanent collection of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art.


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