For Sunday, December 13, 2015:
“To draw, you must close your eyes and sing.”
As much as I loved my mother, and as much as she supported me and my writing, she wasn’t any help whenever I showed her my adult attempts at drawing. I can understand why – her father and sister were acclaimed and respected artists, and she and her mother both had artistic talent of their own styles. Still, it hurt a lot the time Mother laughed at one of my pencil sketches.
I was in my 40s by then and trying my hand at another way to express myself. It was definitely a simple sketch, nothing to be real proud of, but I thought it had potential to be worked into something better. It was the visual version of a written first draft, and Mother’s laughter cut through me like I was a child whose kindergarten painting is shoved into a drawer instead of hung on the refrigerator.
I had no delusions of grandeur regarding my artistic ability. I knew – I know – I don’t have the inherent talent my mother’s family had, but I wanted to try to develop some skills and techniques so I could enjoy just playing with paints once in a while. It took me a few months to try anything after that, and I never showed her any of my attempts at art again. I kept at it, though, and I still have some of my pieces. Most of them now live in file drawers, but I do have one painting out for all to see.
The one good thing that came out of that experience is that I began to explore other and additional ways to express myself visually. I’ll never win any awards or acclamation that way – writing and editing are clearly my foremost talents – but that doesn’t matter. Those new efforts reinforced what artistic skills I know I do have, and I found new confidence to keep trying.
So the moral of the story is don’t let others defeat you. You do have talent, you do have skills. We all do. And together we can all sing!