Meet my husband Lou!

None of this would have been possible if it weren’t for my husband. There would be no project, no 40 portraits, no sketchbook. For four and a half months my husband supported me, cheers me on, left me alone, reminded me to bring my camera when we went someplace, admired my half-finished productions, and was saintly patient.

He shopped for groceries and cooked chicken korma, and I drew.

He cleaned bathrooms, and I drew.

Laundry would only get done when we literally ran out of things to wear, and I drew.

Dust-bunnies grew bigger than the cat, and I drew.

General life was postponed until after the sun-down so I could draw.

I could speak of nothing else, but references, bone structures, face modeling, expressions, skin tone, paper quality and lack of daylight – and he listened.

This was very much a team effort. He even wrote my artist’s bio for me to accompany the sketchbook. So it is only fair that his name should appear in the book. I dedicate this book to Lou, my husband. I love you!

And so, boys and girls, this is the last page, #40 of 40. The project is complete.

Oh, there are still a few things: the cover, the table of contents, cleaning smudges, restoring contrast on several pages, applying fixative… but all this is post-production.


  1. Nicola (PointyPix) December 23, 2010

    Alex, your husband sounds wonderfully thoughtful and forever patient with the time consuming thing that is art!! He also has the kindest, most beautiful eyes!! I can’t believe you have finished the sketchbook and what an amazing book it is – you truly could write a book to go with the sketches (perhaps an extended version of your blog posts!) it’s been a wonderful journey just seeing all the people who have been in your life, come into your life or touched your life in some way and reading the stories behind them. Your art is just wonderful and I am so pleased that the sketchbook project introduced me to you! I hope you will continue with your portraits even though the project is complete. Happy holidays by the way and hope you have a brilliant New Year.x

    • Alex Zonis December 23, 2010

      Thank you, Nicola! My husband is indeed very special. “Stars are for keeping!” to quote my daughter, and he is absolutely a star.

      This Art House initiative is a wonderful thing, no surprise it is so popular. I met several amazing people like youself, and I hope these friendships will continue even though the project is finished. Happy Holidays to you and your husband!

  2. debbieadamsart December 23, 2010

    Alex, you are very fortunate to have a husband like Lou. He sounds like one of the world few special husbands. I happen to have one of the special men myself.
    The drawing of him is amazing! He is also a very handsome man. You are blessed.
    Lou, if read this I just wanted to add for you that I think you are a marvelous man, one of the few that actually dare to be supportive of their wives. You are a gem.
    Great work Alex! I am very impressed, as with all of your drawings!

    • Alex Zonis December 23, 2010

      Now you made me cry, Debbie! I am getting sentimental in my old age <sniff…> But it was a wonderful thing to say, thank you so much!

  3. Shelly December 23, 2010

    Papa Lou is so cute! I love it! I’m sad that the project is over now. What will you draw next?

    • Alex Zonis December 24, 2010

      Thank you, sweetheart! I am a little sad that this project is over. Series can be addictive. I am not entirely sure of what is next. I definitely need a break, this was pretty intense. I think I will continue portraits of people around me, perhaps in color.

  4. Shelly December 23, 2010

    He should make it his facebook profile pic

    • Alex Zonis December 24, 2010

      🙂 I will tell him!

  5. lesliepaints December 23, 2010

    Congratulations! Bravo! Awesome! Perfect spot for Lou and he is the most “alive” of all your portraits, Alex. Happy Holidays to you!

    • Alex Zonis December 24, 2010

      That was a wonderful thing to say, Leslie! I want to thank you too for diligently following my progress here. I didn’t check, but I am pretty sure you have commented on each portrait. This means a lot to me, I really appreciate your support, thoughts, reactions and friendship. Merry Christmas to you too!

  6. Carol King December 23, 2010

    Hello Lou! You have a very talented wife! And you are a wonderful husband to be so supportive of her.

    Alex, I love your drawing of Lou. I can see his kindness and his love for you.

    Your sketchbook project came out fantastic. CONGRATULATIONS!

    • Alex Zonis December 24, 2010

      Thank you, Carol! Thank you for turning me on to this project back in summer, thank you for following up on each individual portrait. You have been a great friend to me. Merry Christmas! Wishing you brilliant New Year filled with wonderful creative accomplishments.

  7. eldy December 24, 2010

    What a wonderful accomplishment…I’m sad to think of it as done but look forward to seeing your creativity continue to blossom in the new year! And, I am tickled to know that you have an amazingly supportive husband along for the ride. Not to brag for sure,but, I’ve got one of those gems too and know how much that kind of loving support helps the creative spirit to soar. Kudos to you both!!!

    • Alex Zonis December 24, 2010

      Thank you, Eldy! It feels a little sad on this end too, I got attached to these people and ideas. But I call it Volume 1. I hope to start a volume 2 in the near future. Thank you for nice words for my husband, he is tickled pink to read all these comments directed to him. I am so happy to hear that you snagged one those special ones yourself. Happy Holidays to both of you!

  8. Lou December 24, 2010

    I am honored! Totally. Lot’s of empathy for the inner man. Very dynamic. It puts me in mind of Pope Innocent XI’s comment on Valazquez’s (in)famous portrait of him, “How true! How true!” I would not have believed it possible to capture multiple micro-expressions in one supposedly static, two dimensional portrait. But there it is. Valazquez does it – and so do you. Nice work. And lot’s of love back at you too!

    • Alex Zonis December 24, 2010

      I know… I will call you il Magnifico. Or simply Lorenzo :).

      The added bonus is that you are so much better looking than Lorenzo de’ Medici was :D.

  9. aswirly December 28, 2010

    Wow, what a wonderful hubby you have and an awesome way to end your book. Amazing as all of your drawings are! Congrats on completing you project! I can’t wait to see volume 2.

    • Alex Zonis December 28, 2010

      Thank you, Amber! It will be a little while before Volume 2. Still finishing up this book: cleaning, fixing, signing and dating drawings… trying to figure out what to do on the cover… But after it is done… I already have a new book :).

  10. thewhiteswan December 29, 2010

    Kudos to you for attempting this project, completing it, and being (in my humble opinion) very successful at it. Thank you so much for posting your progress and letting us share it. As for your portrait of your husband, you can see the patience and calm in him. And I think that you are both very lucky to have each other. I cannot wait to see what you are going to do next.

    • Alex Zonis January 1, 2011

      Thank you so much, Karen! It gives me an enormous satisfaction to see this project so close to being finished. I am still fussing with the book however. Some contrast was lost on several drawings, and I have to do something with the cover. I am not sure what will come after this one, perhaps I will try portraiture in watercolor.

  11. lindahalcombfineart January 1, 2011

    Oh my gosh – what an achievement. Both you and your gorgeous husband Lou deserve a big round of applause. Bravo to both of you! What is next for you, my talented, artist friend? Wishing much success and happiness in the new year.

    • Alex Zonis January 1, 2011

      Thank you, Linda! It was a lot of work, and Lou helped big time. I really don’t think I would have pulled it off without his support. Thank you for the new year wishes. I too wish you a wonderful and creative New Year!

  12. lindahalcombfineart January 1, 2011

    Alex, SO SORRY – your gorgeous husband, Lou…my typing is atrocious!

    • Alex Zonis January 1, 2011

      Don’t worry about it, Linda! I fixed the typo. It would be nice to have an ability to correct one’s own comments, I really wish for it when I make awful typos commenting on people’s blogs :).

  13. rob carey January 2, 2011

    You are going pencil crazy, Alex!

  14. rob carey January 2, 2011

    Oops, I accidentally clicked my return button! Like I said before, you are going pencil crazy- these portraits are exceptional~ I am so impressed. Keep going! Sounds like you’ve got a great guy there, too. I know my wife really gives me a lot of space and time to draw, and at times I get a little, (well, more than a little), obsessed with sketching, so she shows a lot of extra grace. Best to you in 2011. I can hardly wait to see where your work will be this time next year! –Rob

    • Alex Zonis January 2, 2011

      Thank you so much, Rob! I said it before and I will say it again: you are an inspiration for me, and you liking my work here means a great deal to me.

      I think being an artist’s spouse is a very hard job. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that a divide between an artist and a non-artist is greater than it is in many other cases. Bridging this divide with love and patience and support requires a great degree of empathy and commitment. These people, artists’ spouses, remain in a shadow, but really are unsung heroes without whom a lot of art would not see the light of the day. Here’s to my husband and your wife and many others!

  15. Ester January 3, 2011

    I love your portraits. They are really beautifully drawn, especially love this one of your husband. Beautiful works!

    • Alex Zonis January 3, 2011

      Very nice to meet you, Ester! I went to your blog, then to your site, from there to your book :). I love your work and now have a few questions, the usual artist’s questions about materials. What sketchbook are you currently using? It looks like a Moleskine from the shape of the pages. If so, which kind is it? I have been looking into Blurb books, and, seeing that you used them, I am curious how do like the resulting book? Is the software easy to use?

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