There Couldn’t Be A Better Time To Be An Artist—A Week-Long Celebration

March 2, 2015


Above: Pentel fine-tipped pigment ink brush pen sketch on Japanese Lined journal; with washes from a Pentel dye-based brush pen, and color from a 15 mm tipped Montana Marker.

There really hasn't been a better time to be an artist. And we don't even have to move to Portland to live the dream of the 1890s as the song says…Nope, everywhere you look, anywhere you are, there are BEARDS.

And Pentel Brush Pens + beards = drawing FUN.

It's that simple.

I've always loved beards. Dick shaves every Friday morning, just like every other weekday, before going into work, but then suspends shaving through the weekend. At about 3 p.m. Saturday I begin to ask him, "Are we growing a beard?" Similar questions follow the rest of the weekend. He has learned that there is only one suitable response, "Yes cutie," which he accompanies with that little smirk which shows that he knows that I know that he knows he doesn't have a choice in the matter and isn't really telling a fib, because that's something LB can't do. Then on Monday he shaves again. (I try to be out on my bicycle [or in winter, up on the trainer], by then so I don't have to witness this.)

Dick did have a beard for awhile. (I think it was the late 80s.) It was a lovely beard even though it had a lot of red in it. (It's that Finnish-Irish-Scottish background.) Then one day he decided to shave it all off, he just pulled the strop up from the bathroom door handle where it had continued to hang because he still needed to shave his neck and do some maintenance now and then; and he just started sharpening his straight razor and the next thing I knew, it was pretty much all gone.

And he looked about 20 years younger.

That's the thing about shaving beards. When you take off all that hair your skin looks absolutely like a 19 year old's!

I couldn't even find a photo of Dick with his beard. I know I took a lot of photos of it, I mean "Dick with a beard," but that was in the days of film. Black and white film I developed myself. I even took photos of him shaving it off. I paused to let a tear roll dramatically down my cheek from time to time. He was adamant. It was coming off.

OK, so it probably did contribute to drag while he was swimming.

So what. It was wonderful.

But recently I was flipping through my journal and I realized that everyone has a beard again. OK, not everyone, but so many people from the young kid at the bike store, to the hipsters at the printing studio, to one of the contestants on "Survivor" (see above) to…well they are everywhere.

And I couldn't be happier, because there is nothing so fun to draw as a beard.

I am celebrating this week with sketches of beards. (Also since I only had 10 days of wellness between bronchitis and catching a cold I've run through my usual stack of blog posts I can drop into place if I'm too busy to write…beards = breathing room while I get over this cold.)

Join me this week to celebrate beards. And remember, you never know if there's going to be a quiz.

Note: I started a "Beard" category today—it won't contain any of the many, many beards I've sketched and posted before today, but I thought since I'm devoting 5 days to beards it deserved a category.

And yes, there is also a Portlandia clip "The Dream of the 90s" which is fun too. It starts the same but it is different, and fun.

    • Chris Murray
    • March 2, 2015

    So true! Beards are sprouting everywhere. Looking forward to your sketches. I have been going through a lot of your old posts studying the way you use gouache. Loved the Sketchbook Skool post on gouache since it’s my favorite as well. Hope you feel better soon.

  1. Reply

    Its those duck call guys…at least I am blaming them!! One of my sons has one…I do like him with his chiseled chin better…but what do I know?? I am MOM!!! Great sketch!!

    • Alison A
    • March 5, 2015

    Yep beard bonanza here in England lately too… ooh online gouache class, like the sound of that! Rest up!!

  2. Reply

    Margaret believe me the beard revival I’m writing of began way before and has no link whatsoever to the duck idiots on TV. I’m writing about an urban revival that is going on and has been for sometime, in places like Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, and so on. These are different types of beards, and unlike the duck guys the word grooming can still be used in a sentence to discuss the beards I’m writing about.

    Moms always have a preferred way to view their kids, you’re entitled.

  3. Reply

    Alison, that’s for reporting on the beard situation in England! Keep me apprised if you notice things changing! I am no over my cold and very glad to be working full steam again!

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