The top photo is my pencil drawing of the great man himself. I remember vividly doing this. I wondered if it would be possible to do a credible drawing, using only vertical lines....so I gave it a shot with Tolstoy. My classmates were undoubtedly trying to find their fake IDs for a night on the town, but I was giving myself drawing challenges. My mother has always been irritated that I just used a piece of newsprint, and I see her point as the paper gets darker and darker.....To the left you will see another of my drawings.... It was summer vacation, and I was watching soap operas, but that seemed insufficient occupation (I was a multi-tasker before it was popular) so I grabbed some paper and tried to draw the photo on the cover of my brother's Sports Illustrated. The challenge that time was to get a black person's skin tone. I guess it was OK - my brother and parents were thrilled (hence its place on the wall all these years) but I didn't know who the player was, and though I have known at some point, I've forgotten again. I just recall that the resulting drawing looked like a black man and I was pleased about that.
This photo is of my drawing of Sophia Tolstoy, the author's wife. The more I know her the more I like her. My sympathies have, frankly, moved from being 100% on Tolstoy's side, to being mostly on Sophia's. (They had some challenges in their very long marriage in the later years.) The little task I gave myself in this picture was doing it all with just India ink and pieces of cardboard (the back of a tablet cut into strips about an inch wide). I was happy with this one, too, because it actually looks quite a lot like the subject.
I think the other thing these pictures illustrate - the most important thing they illustrate, perhaps, is not that I was a fair artist, but that my mother loves me dearly. Imagine! My mother not only had these pictures framed and has hung them on her wall all this time.....she actually developed an interest in Tolstoy, herself....and now her bookshelf is stocked with an obscure selection of biographies of Tolstoy, his wife and his children. I think my mom was as glad I finally got to visit his home as I was!