When I was about 10 or 12, my mom took a drawing class with a local artist. It was based on the classic approach in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. I remember being awed by the sudden magic of her ability to capture life in her sketch book. I particularly remember sketches of her hands and one of my brother Chris that was so true to his two-year-old self (do you still have that one, Mom?). I was pretty enchanted by this new, artist version of my mom and by the idea that you could just capture the world on the surface of a paper.
Lately my hands have ached to DO SOMETHING, create things. I love writing but it's so internal and thinky. I find myself wanting to create something outside of my head, with my hands, bypassing words. I remembered my mom's Edwards text and went looking for it one day last week before I picked up Sam from school. (Plus a Scandinavian embroidery book for good measure because the accruing of the STUFF of a project is the part where I tend to excel.)
Sam has an after-school math class on Fridays so I took the book, pencils, and a sketchbook with me while I waited the 90 minutes in the car. Scanning through a couple of the chapters, I had a bit of an epiphany reading what she had to say about seeing differently so, as she suggests, I gave my first self-portrait a try, using the visor mirror for reference, aware that to passersby I looked like a mirror-gazing narcissist. Here's to being vulnerable and sharing--
This is totally out of my comfort zone and I'll be the first to say I've got a long long way to go--the prickly art critic/doubter on my shoulder has pointed out this is just me-ish and maybe an anime version at that with the wide-eyed zombie stare--but the magic of making lines suddenly take life? Wow, what a rush. I'm hooked and Betty has officially rocked my world. (If you've ever played Draw Something with me, you know this is a big leap!) Ahoy! I'm drawing! I draw! I'm a draw-er! Is this a breakthrough, that I'm a draw-er? I draw now! (Hurry, name that movie before clicking the link.)
In mentioning this to several friends I've been amazed how many people remembered their moms/dads/grandparents taking up drawing at around this same stage with the same book. Maybe it's a life timing thing. If I think about it, my grandfather started building the family cabin by hand in around this time in his life, as well as learning woodcarving, iron work, and stained glass. My aunt started watercolor painting, another one took up oil painting. It's like it's hardwired in our human development to branch out creatively at this stage. (Hello, Erikson's generativity/stagnation stage. Nice to see you again.) Or maybe it's just a time in life when we finally have a tiny sliver of extra time available to devote to new interests?
What about you? Have you started a new creative endeavor or are you itching to learn something new? Where do you channel your creative leanings?
[Edited to add: This will be a lighter posting week while we all run around doing Thanksgivingy things. We'll see you here on MWF. Have a great week!]