Bly Pope
A photorealistic graphite and ink drawing of a close-up of an old woman's face.

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Collection of the artist

In my photorealistic drawings I try to show that the ordinary is worthy of scrutiny—that every diminutive, “missable” part of the world is alive, singular, and “holy,” and that everyday moments must be appreciated with care, reverence, and gratitude. Drawing faces is a form of emotional release, exploration, and remembrance: I draw faces of friends, family, and others I’ve known and loved. The human face is a lyrical and mysterious landscape, as infinite as a mountain range, warranting rigorous investigation and passionate awe. The intense, meditative, intimate process of working in pencil is a way of learning about my subjects, remembering and celebrating them, and acknowledging the entropy and frailty of my own life. Maryanna is a drawing of my grandmother when she was ninety years old, made a year before she passed away. It represents unconventional beauty, as well as nobility and defiance in the face of mortality.