Tag Archives: ageism

A Face, A Story

12 Jul

head 8

Older women shouldn’t be invisible. I’m combining my daily practice sketch with drawing from pictures of elder women because of the ageism that their generation suffers. I know that elders of both genders have problems to face, but it seems that they are compounded for older women. Not so long ago the BBC dumped a female presenter for the crime of being in her mid-50s after an arrogant suggestion that she should get Botox. Disgraceful. Why should we, male or female, be expected to wipe the story of our lives from our faces in order to be visible? Wrong, wrong, wrong.

This beautiful woman is drawn into my A4 hardbacked sketchbook prepared with brown wrapping paper, using black and white conté crayon and grey and black graphite.

Making Them Visible

8 Jul
a full mouth

An older woman in graphite and conte crayon

I’m getting really enthused with these 10 minute sketches from Googled images of elderly women. I started just as a quick bit of practice but after 4 or 5 I find myself really getting into it. There are so many beautiful older faces to choose from and it dawned on me that for me this is a feminist issue, this is an age group that is usually invisible, ignored, marginalised in our youth obsessed culture. So I’m going to carry on drawing them. I don’t know who they are, there is rarely any information about the people in the photos but it doesn’t matter; I think the important thing for me is to focus on them and draw them and make them visible through my art. I might not do one every day because I am working on other art projects as well, but I think I’ll make this a long term thing.


I’m drawing into my A4 hardbound sketchbook, prepared with brown wrapping paper, ripped and stuck randomly, to give me a midtone to work on top of, with graphite and conté crayon. This woman had an extraordinarily lined face, covered in patterns from her life’s experiences. As I was drawing, the scribbly markmaking became quite psychedelic. I want to fill the whole sketchbook with these elder women  and then maybe do something with them digitally, because otherwise it’s just about impossible to display a sketchbook without taking it apart.

In Praise Of The Older Man

10 Oct

I deplore the ageism that seems endemic in British culture and I address this in my art by using elder models in a lot of my work. We have two brilliant elder models in our life drawing group in Swansea, one male, one female, who are both retired professionals and art lovers. They’ve been modelling for many years and love it and bring so much experience and humanity to the process. I think it’s fascinating to observe the ageing process in the human body and I think a model in their 70’s is every bit as interesting and beautiful as one in their twenties. We really should grow up as a society and stop being so obsessed with the blandness of youth.


This is a large life drawing done into an A2 brown paper sketch book with white, black and sanguine conté crayons.

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