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Theda’s kin

I set out to draw Theodosia Burr Goodman Brabin, better known as Theda Bara, the silent screen’s original vamp. I was going to do her beaded headdress and all. But the further I got in executing the under-drawing, the more sure I was that I couldn’t get a good likeness. So I drew her … um, great granddaughter, instead.

The likeness was closer than I expected. But this is incomplete and a failed experiment. Some okay things about it, but mostly Yet Another Learning Experience. I’m not even sure I’m going to post it.


  1. Shel
    Shel March 24, 2017 10:06 am

    For some reason, it makes me think of Mata Hari.

  2. Karen
    Karen March 24, 2017 3:46 pm

    It amazes me the way you capture the eyes in all your posted drawings and paintings! I would think that would be one of the most difficult things to work on.

  3. Claire
    Claire March 24, 2017 4:18 pm

    Thank you, Karen. Eyes do seem as if they should be difficult, but I find them easier than lips or noses. These were hard because of the tilt of her head but also because — I never noticed until I attempted to draw her — that Theda Bara was slightly wall-eyed. If you look at the photo I intended to draw (linked), you’ll see that her left eye looks straight at the camera while her right eye gazes off in the distance. It’s not enough to be noticeable, but it’s sure enough to throw me off.

    And Shel — Mata Hari and Theda Bara no doubt had a LOT in common!

  4. John
    John March 25, 2017 5:32 pm

    bet you could do creative with the lion eyes.
    A challenge mix to add with what Shel offered.

    The HRC eyes are in the forget worthy part of the past,
    and glad you’d be disposed to leave ’em there!
    I could have done fine not clicking those links…

  5. Shel
    Shel March 25, 2017 7:47 pm

    Rats! The link to the answers doesn’t work. Sorry about that.

  6. Claire
    Claire March 25, 2017 8:28 pm

    I found that out after marking up my sheet of answers. Couldn’t find that study anywhere online, either. But here’s a shorter version (just 15 faces) using a selection of the same photos:

    And judging solely by my own results, the original study was onto something. I got 10 out of the 15 right (so significantly better than random). But you know how they said that women can’t identify rapists? I spotted only one of the three rapists included.

    Interesting, Shel.

    Anybody else?

  7. Claire
    Claire March 25, 2017 8:32 pm

    “I could have done fine not clicking those links…”

    Sorry, John. But when some people hear “lyin’ eyes” they think The Eagles. I think HRC. (Apparently I’m not alone. Type “lying eyes” into an image search and half the results are politicians! Type in “lyin’ eyes” and you still get … Eagles.)

  8. Shel
    Shel March 26, 2017 12:13 pm

    Did poorly on the tests. Not a good thing. I suspect the reason “women can’t identify rapists” is there’s something unique about them individually that makes them hard to spot, which is exactly why they were able to get in the situation that enabled them to commit the crime. No doubt there are numerous others who would like to do the same but inadvertently send off enough early warning signals to allow the intended victim to evade entrapment.

  9. John
    John March 26, 2017 3:45 pm

    So some psychologist(s) want me to believe they can spot the criminal by the mug shot! Color me skeptical.

    Anyway, we all know all 32 mugs in the first and all 15 in the second test are guilty guilty guilty! Speeders, jaywalkers, tax avoiders. Yeah, thirty felonies a day, all of ’em.

    When London law is ready to believe the soft science of the selective data and self select testing psychology camp, they already have the camera infrastructure to start clearing the streets of all the criminal riff-raff. It will become the biggest ghost town in history.

    (ps – the post and comment follow boxes below look to be all fixed!)

  10. Claire
    Claire March 26, 2017 4:14 pm

    “(ps – the post and comment follow boxes below look to be all fixed!)”

    Yes, we can thank HWFIW for that. He took time away from some extreme personal stresses to fix that. And he gave me the information that’ll hopefully enable me to fix it next time.

    “So some psychologist(s) want me to believe they can spot the criminal by the mug shot!”

    They want you to believe that YOU can spot the criminals. And I say that would be a handy talent — provided of course we can distinguish the mother-stabbers and father-rapers from the legitimate “thirty-felonies a day” Outlaws. 🙂

  11. John
    John March 26, 2017 5:49 pm


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