Mooning for Mona

I’ve been finishing up my Paris Journal, adding images and words to complete the journal started long before I ever left the States. I preparation for this trip of a lifetime, I began collecting words in my Moleskine and then took it with me on my trip. Now I’m getting it ready to send in for a future article and one regret keeps coming back to me, I didn’t get to see Mona while I was there.

Because it was my first trip, (I say that because it means I’ll someday go back-right?) I did all the touristy things. The things you read about, the images you see every time you read anything about Paris. High on that list, if not topping it, was to see the Mona Lisa. I didn’t rush right to the Louvre, but instead let anticipation build. I talked about saying ‘Hi’ to Mona with a little giggle of delight at the thought. I’d already seen another of Leonardo’s works, Ginevra de’ Benci when I visited the National Gallery of Art in DC, and I was on a mission to see Mona the most famous of his works.

But, as often happens in life, it did not happen despite my best efforts. We planned for a whole day at the Louvre and found out that it was closed that day. Disappointed but not worried I scrambled to find another time and picked a day the museum was open late and I could go after my workshop. I scrambled to get there via subway and arrived before the appointed time only to find that they had closed admission early due to a high volume of visitors and an increased security risk. I couldn’t believe it. I was going to leave Paris not having seen the Mona Lisa!

With other things going on with my family in the background, I didn’t let myself visit how sad this made me. Not until now, when I pulled out my journal to finish it up so I could send it off, did I let myself feel that disappointment. I will go back someday, I must, and seeing Mona will be the first thing I do!

I don’t usually try to draw a face that is recognizable as ‘someone’. It’s a scary thing to do because the risk of failing is very high. But with Mona on my mind I decided to give it a try last night. My first attempt is posted above. I’m not happy with it, but decided to share it to show that drawing takes practice. I’ve been seriously practicing sketching since 2008 (here is an interview Chrysti Hydeck did back then where I state that intention) and you are never finished learning this skill. So after I finished the first attempt, I immediately started a second and I’ll work on finishing it later today.

Maybe I’ll like it, maybe I won’t but that won’t stop me from continuing to pursue portraits. I love the challenge. I love that each face is different from the one before it. I love that I can see growth in my work. I love the discipline of sketching daily.

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