Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Drawing Stuff

I fancy myself an artist.  I know that must sound silly, because I don't paint or draw any more, but once upon a time I did.  Coming from someone who is, generally, pretty mercilessly self-critical, I'd say that I wasn't half bad at it, either, and it was something I was passionate about.  I used to smoke cigarettes back in those days, and I remember I'd say that art was the only thing that could make me forget to smoke.  It was something so fulfilling that it makes me absolutely shake my head, and I can't understand it myself, that I let it go for so long.

I used to draw constantly.  When I should have been doing other things, I'd draw.  I drew on any available surface.  I drew on things that I shouldn't have been drawing on.  Everything was begging me to draw on it.  Everything needed embellishment. I couldn't even write a sentence without drawing fancy letters.  I always had a pencil with me.   Always.  Drawing was something I thought about continuously and did whenever the opportunity presented itself.  When I was out, I doodled and sketched and looked forward to getting home to work on something there that I was drawing.  It was something that I could get completely lost in.     

I also dabbled in oil paints a bit.  Unlike other mediums, I instinctively understood the way oils worked and loved to mess with blending and the way I could manipulate the colors until I achieved the effects I wanted.   The smells, the feel, the way my whole mind would get involved in my artwork: I missed it all terribly!  I didn't even realize it.  I let life, kids, work, and a lot of poor decision making processes push it further and further away until I no longer remembered that I could do it at all.  How sad.

It was difficult to find a place to do anything in among the debris of a busy life, let alone get my art supplies out and try to get involved.  Even if I'd gotten them out, I reasoned, I could never get enough time all collected into a block to warrant dragging it all out, so I couldn't get inspired, let alone involved.  Someplace along the lost path I threw all my art into one drawer in my head and decided that if I couldn't find room to spread it out and time to let it set, that I couldn't do it at all, so why even bother.  I talked my brain into believing that I couldn't do it anymore.

DECADES passed.   Decades.

Then one day I was assessing things.  I was counting my blessings, being deliberately thankful for the things the Lord has blessed me with, when I realized He had blessed me with some measure of talent to draw.  If this was true, then I was really neglecting it.  I couldn't excuse that.  I may not be the best, but how will I know if I don't work on it?  Why would I have a talent at all if not to use?

All at once it dawned on me; I can still do it.  It's in me.  Pencils and paper don't require a lot of space or time.  Now my problem was a sort of strange fear.  It had been so long that I wasn't confident I could do it any more.  I made a lot of terrible arguments from lack of subject matter to not being able to think creatively anymore, so for another lo-o-o-o-o-n-g stretch I couldn't make myself start anything.

Then......... I decided to start drawing again.   Actually, I did better than that; I DID start drawing again.  I swallowed hard and put my pencil on the paper.  It was almost heart stopping.  I can't explain it.  I was afraid, excited, embarrassed and maybe a little bit sad, I may have cried, but I decided to override all the nonsense that kept me from it all these years.  If there was anything to it, the talent part, I wanted to jump in there and find out.

I have to admit, my first attempts aren't good, but I can feel it coming back to me.  I know I will be able to do it again.  It was a great, great feeling.  I wasn't swallowed up in it like I used to be, but then again, I was so nervous-- really nervous.  I was sketching and doodling, just to try to get the feel for it again, and I was embarrassed at how bad it was.  Of course, my family wanted to see, but I didn't want anyone to see it yet!  I think when they get used to seeing me draw the novelty will be gone, and then I can get comfortable with it.  I believe when I am eventually inspired to draw something 'for real,' I'll be quite absorbed by it again.  I feel right there on the edge of it.....

I am back on the horse.  Thirty-four, thirty-five years?  That's long enough.


Retta said...

Te3ars in my eyes as I shout HUZZAH!!! Welcome back to the creative side, my friend!!! I can not wait to see how God uses your talent. I want an autograph, k? <3

Representative said...

Here's the finished picture, such as it is.