I painted this portrait for a terrific new play called STRUCK by Sandy Rustin. The cast is amazing and Gina Rattan's direction is top notch. If you live in Raleigh and haven't seen it, I hope you'll come out tomorrow (Friday June 30th). There's going to be a cocktail party/pop-up art show featuring my work in the lobby before the play. Check out this notice in Broadway World for more details. Hope to see you there!
I drew this with my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.
Here's the reference photo. His chin photographed strangely due the camera angle. I corrected for the distortion.
Art by Anne Jordan 2016
On my sixth birthday, I sobbed uncontrollably. My mother asked "What's wrong? Why are you crying?"
"Because I'm six!" I said "It's the end of being a little child."
People laugh when they hear this story because they don't understand how very real- and justified- my grief was. I knew how special it was to be five. I knew I lived in a world of magic where teddy bears were real, and I knew those days were numbered. I'd been watching the grownups, and what I saw filled me with dread: boring conversations, cooking, laundry, and bills. I never saw them color or play pretend. When Christmas came, my parents gave each other things I didn't consider gifts at all- things like clothing and kitchen appliances! I figured when you reached a certain age something must die inside you. I wanted to freeze time, but time refused to be frozen. I was growing up whether I liked or not.
The more I thought about it, I realized the crux of the problem must be grownups forgot about magic. The magical world was still there, of course, but it was as if they'd lost the key. I knew there was nothing I could do to prevent myself from growing older, and there was no getting around it- one day I would have to do laundry. BUT if I could only remember the magic, maybe I would be ok. So with all the power I could muster, I sent a message into the future to my grown up self: REMEMBER THE MAGIC.
And here I am, message received. I'm so grateful to my past self for that very important reminder. It has definitely informed the kind of adult I've become.
But I see now I was only partly right about adults forgetting magic. We do, but it's not as simple as that. So many things happen to us along the way. We fail, we question ourselves, we lose our innocence, our hearts are broken, our loved ones die. These things take a toll on our spirits, and sometimes we don't feel like playing. Plus, the responsibilities are huge and overwhelming. When I'm doing my taxes, I often find myself muttering "I HATE being an adult!"
But do I really? Would my life be better if I could have only frozen time?
What would I say to my past self, that little girl who was so scared to leave childhood?
I'd say: You can keep your spirit alive when you're grown up BUT you have to fight for it. If you fight hard enough, adulthood can be fun, empowering, and yes, even magical.
Here I am using the acrylic paint tool in Procreate.
First, let me say that I'm absolutely obsessed with my iPad Pro and my Apple Pencil.
Second, you should know that I'm not a tech-y person. I have never used a Wacom tablet, and I don't know how to do anything in the Adobe suite. Until this year, I've done all my art the old-fashioned way- with paper, paint, charcoal, etc. I loved nothing more than going to art stores and sorting through rows of colored pencils and pastels and tubes of paint. I loved mixing colors with my palette knife and linseed oil was my favorite smell. I thought real art was tactile, and digital art was.... something else.
But slowly I realized the art world was leaving me behind, and I was becoming irrelevant. Here I was, an artist living and working in 2015, and I didn't know how to create digital designs. I began to feel a bit like my grandmother when she resisted buying a microwave. I found myself relying on other people to finish my projects, to change colors that weren't quite right and clean up my messy edges. The truth is I suck at computers and I was SO intimidated. I was paralyzed.
Enter the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil. These inventions have completely changed my life as an artist. Now it's kind of like I know Photoshop- and I didn't have to learn Photoshop!
I've been working with the Procreate app, which is available in the App Store for $5.99. This app is worth every penny. It took me a little while to get used to the layers, but now they're second nature to me. I love all the incredibly realistic drawing and painting tools. It's so fun experimenting with pencils, pastels, inks, acrylic, oil, watercolor, and media I've never even heard of (gelsinki ink, anyone? I have no idea what that is, but I use it constantly.).
The Apple Pencil is the best stylus ever (full disclosure- I haven't used many styluses, and I'm making a totally unfounded grandiose statement). There's no lag time, it doesn't skip, and it feels a lot like drawing with a real pencil. Also, it's a little heavier than I expected, which is nice . I'd say the whole experience is surprisingly tactile.