In Context: The Last Selfie With My Original Eyes

January 29, 2019
Working with a brush pen in the Hahnemühle Travel book that’s about 6 x 8 inches.

I found it interesting when sketching this self portrait earlier this January that I wasn’t concerned about seeing color at all. That seems to be what everyone goes on about when they find out you’re going to have cataract surgery.

I’ve been very happy with the way I see color, and the cataracts are new, developing quickly over a short period of time, so maybe I’m not expecting a dramatic shift once they are removed.

Or maybe because I work so much in pen and ink, and was doing so when I sketched this selfie standing at the bathroom mirror, color wasn’t on my mind.

Over the past several months, particularly when working with a fine tipped pen, my drawing style has changed from being “crisp” but loose to being more sketchy. It will be interesting to see what happens after the eye surgeries.

On Sunday while binding a book for an online class I’m preparing I found that it was practically impossible for me to cut the spine sewing templates out with the precision I’d used just 12 months ago. Definitely time to give something else a go.

As to the paper in the Hahnemühle Travel book—I have to admit that I am enjoying not working on watercolor paper. (Yes, on other days I’ve been painting on this paper and you’ll see those sketches on the blog at some point.)

The paper has a slight tooth that is fun for pencil, but is also great with brush pen. Look at the rich, bold lines I got here, as well as the feathered lines I was able to create in the braid on the left. And no ink bleed through. It has a slightly cream color.

In other eye related news, if you’d followed me on other social media, I didn’t have time to finish my larger than 22 x 30 inch watercolor portrait I started at the end of the week. I spent Saturday chasing the nose up and down, angry at myself for that issue of crispness lacking in the underlying drawing. I really needed to take more time on that to avoid all the future issues, duh. I found that working large on that painting I was going too fussy. It was an interesting experience. I hope to finish it, but frankly I don’t know that will happen. It might just get stored away as an oddity. It’s too large to scan, but I might scan a cropped portion if I can fit something interesting on the scanner.

I also used the opportunity to try out Holbein permanent white gouache with my watercolor (Winsor & Newton tube colors). I haven’t had time to do my full on comparisons of all the white watercolors and gouaches I picked up a couple months ago. I look forward to that in the future.

Something bittersweet: I pulled out a sheet of 300 lb. cold press Cresent watercolor paper made with 100 percent cotton to do the painting. Immediately when I touched the brush to it I could tell by the slick way the paint worked and the tell-tale smell (which I so love) that it was gelatin sized. I was smitten. I had purchased two packs of 3 0r 5 sheets of it several years ago for a large watercolor project that didn’t happen because of a eldercare hospitalization. (Windows close and you move on to other things.) I called Darin at Wet Paint to see if there was any more of this paper and sure enough—it was a one-time thing. Crescent had someone make the paper for them and do a special sale and it was long gone. I mention this because I’m pretty good about using paper when I get it, but in this case I didn’t and now discovering that I love this paper I can’t run over and get any more. This is particular vexing as more and more papers go with vegetable/starch sizings.

Later in the year I look forward to getting the paper out for a new project yet to be devised. I know I’ll love every moment I work on the paper. I’m looking forward to it.

Go grab some beloved paper and make some paintings today!

    • Trudy Mason
    • January 29, 2019

    Oh Roz, I laughed out loud when I saw your self portrait this morning. I can see exactly how you were feeling. Wishing you all the best with your cataract surgery. I too needed surgery for fast developing cataracts and thought I still saw colour accurately. Turns out I was seeing everything with a yellowish sort of tint.I discovered this when I closed one eye at a time after my first surgery. There was a noticeable difference in what I was seeing. If your surgery goes as well as mine did you will be vey pleased. Thanks again for your wonderful posts. I look forward to them every morning and it is always the first thing I read when I am lucky enough to find a post in my inbox.

    • Kathleen Michael
    • January 29, 2019

    Am sitting here in pain (costochondritis) iPhone in hand and opened your post. Because of small screen saw your sketch from eyes up to title . Reaction was Rod? selfie? no!! Then read your post. I enjoy how you share you, your life with us.

      • Kathleen Michael
      • January 29, 2019

      autocorrect took over changed Rod to Roz teice, but still came it Rod. Sorry ROZ!

    • Corinne McNamara
    • January 29, 2019

    Just before I had the surgery for a similar problem, I had trouble recognizing faces at the other end of a conference table. I am still grateful for being able to see. I appreciate line and color more than ever. I still need glasses, but I don’t care!

    • Georgy
    • September 16, 2019

    Please be well.
    Thank you for sharing with all of us.
    love & love,

    1. Reply

      Thanks Georgy for stopping by!

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