Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Counting my chickens
A self-portrait, drawn yesterday afternoon. I wasn't going to post it, it was a very quick sketch to try and warm up and instead of capturing the signs of ageing that I hate, I chickened out and managed to make it look flattering!
I tried drawing from the TV this week and goodness, is that hard to do! On Monday night I gave up and drew Mark's feet instead!
On Tuesday evening I had better luck, I was watching Richard & Judy and they had two guests on the sofa, twin doctors. So when the camara switched to the other one, I could still carry on with the same drawing!
I wouldn't have posted any of these drawings if it hadn't have been for the news last night of Heath Ledger's death. I haven't followed his career very closely but I did see him in A Knight's Tale only a few days ago. I saw him in one scene, surrounded by others and the thought occured that he was a very lucky individual to have those looks, he certainly had star quality, he stood out. Just yesterday, I saw a roll call of actresses who are up for Oscars this year and it struck me how similar their features were, especially their foreheads! As I drew the doctor on the sofa, I noticed this high forehead again, and wondered if these two good looking twins would have had the chance to make their programme if it wasn't for the way they looked. Heath Ledger had that same high forehead, that same mathematical formula that we think defines attractiveness.
I was about to turn off the TV last night when I switched to the news and saw the report, his body being taken out on a stretcher with a crowd of people taking photos. A female voice saying how sad, as a private person he wouldn't have liked all the publicity. Well, no doubt she and her cameraman raced there just as fast. Another reporter in the studio said his death was a shame as he was just about to break into the mainstream, on the verge of making a big name for himself. Well, yet again, I have to wonder, what on earth has anyone got to do to be considered successful? He was nominated, amongst other things for an Oscar for 'best actor'. That is pretty successful in his profession I would have thought.
Why I watch Richard & Judy, I don't know - Richard tries so desperately to be cool it's uncomfortable to watch. Maybe it's to see the guests trying not to laugh as he puts his foot in his mouth again and again! He had Tom Skerritt on one day, and asked him about Tom Cruise, his co-star in Top Gun. Regular readers know I use Tom Cruise to illustrate the nonsense that is written and said about celebrities. Tom Skerritt described Cruise as being the way he was because "he had limited life experience" to which Richard smirked and nodded knowingly. Of all the things Cruise could be accused of, I think that was the strangest. (Sour grapes, Mr Skerritt?)I think I'd be exhausted by his 'limited life experiences' if I swapped places with him for just one week.
So Cruise, not long ago voted 'world's most influential actor' has limited life experience. Ledger, with his BAFTA and Oscar nominations was still trying to break in and make a name! As that artistic genius Joni Mitchell once sang ' And I looked at myself here, chicken scratching for my own mortality'. Another talent, Amy Winehouse was on the news most of the day, everyone fearing her self destruction, but it was Ledger, with the movie-star looks and trappings of wealth and success, who ended up on the stretcher.
I remember when Paul was a toddler and Alex a baby and tidying up the whole house in a mad frenzy in time for the baby group to visit. Every room was spotless and I was exhausted. One of the mums said it was such a tidy house, it didn't look as if any toddlers lived there! Well, it was spotless for the duration of the visit - one brief shining moment - and then it was back to normal, dust bunnies, toys everywhere and happy children! That is what success is, I think, in reality; one brief shining moment, impossible to hang on to, impossible to sustain, an illusion - some can't see it even when they have it, others waste their lives chasing it. So today, I'm quite happy to be a chicken scratching, with my saggy face and limited life experience, so I'll post my little sketches and count my blessings!