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Drawing Mom

My 93 year old Mother fell and broke her right hip and shoulder last November.  She lives in a retirement community in New Jersey, about an hour drive outside NYC.  She has her own apartment, but now requires a home health aid 24/7.  Since her injury, hospitalization, and rehab, I visit weekly.   Sometime in the morning, we go for a "walk" and sit in the big recreation areas or on the patio.  And we laugh, alot, as I try to sketch her portrait.  Her she is in a photo.


Most of my early sketches all looked like the same woman, just not my Mother.  So we named her Lilly and created a persona for her.  I finally decided to use a grid on a photo of her to try to get a better likeness using that time-honored technique.  You can still see some of the unerased grid markings on this pencil drawing.  But that didn't look like her either.  Note:  I used a different photo for the grid.


She always looks at my drawing and says something like "great job on my hair, or the earrings."  Here is the latest one - she still says that I'm not close.  But at least we have fun, and it makes the visit more interesting.



What fun and she is a really good sport. I think you are very close!!


very nice. your sketches get better and better!

I think both sketches show a strong likeness to your mother's photo. I prefer the pencil sketch. Is it possible that your mother is looking for a spark of something she recognizes as 'herself', something that I, not knowing her, wouldn't know was 'missing'?

Great job! x2

It must be extremely hard trying to capture a loved one with all their personality and little quirks! Unlike with a stranger. You have so much love and knowledge of your mum that cannot be put on paper despite being etched in your heart. I think you have done a great job, and even if you are never quite satisfied with the lines on the paper, you will have the most wonderful and precious memories of the fun times you spent together doing this every time you look at the sketches! That is irreplaceable!

They do look like her (she looks like a lovely mum), what a nice way to have fun!

I like both sketches a lot. I thing the pencil portrait is quite close, except for maybe the eyes. They are more 'hidden' in real life, deeper in her face. Your mum looks amazing by the way!

I think you are quite close with the grid drawing. It is really hard to draw someone you see all the time, or at least it is for me. I wonder why that is?

A wonderful page. You sound like you have great fun together. I love the persona of Lilly - that is so funny. Thanks for sharing it with us. Your pages re always lovely

Wow the grid sketch is wonderful. Good for you that you visit, she must love having your company and all the good times. They are special times. I was surprise to read that you live an hour away from NY. I am here in Northeast PA.

Your mother is beautiful! I want to look and be like her when I'm 93! I love that the 2 of you have so much fun together. The drawing is really good, but I agree, it doesn't look exactly like her. So what? You both had a great time and it's a great drawing!! nancy

Oh my, I think your mother is extraordinarily pretty and does not look her age at all!
You've done a wonderful job on both sketches; the grid sketch is very close to the photograph!
Good work!!! My mom lived to be 91 and was also very pretty, I've often tried to sketch her from memory without too much success.

Me thinks that you are being to critical! The sketches are terrific. I also prefer the first one. What a wonderful smile.

I have a hard time with self portraits - somewhat easier drawing someone else. Your top sketch has so much more detail than the bottom one -- if I were your mom I might prefer the latter because there are fewer lines showing. I wonder how much artists of yesteryear had to improve upon their subjects in order to encourage future business...

Who would believe your mother is 93! What a stylish figure! Your sketches are great and I love the way your mother always praises something in them, even tho' she is not convinced that they look just like her.

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