I’ve seen some of the most beautiful sights in the world on my travels, and have captured many in photographs. There were times when I was looking at the riot of color at the Floating Market in Bangkok, the cherry blossoms in Japan, or the prospect from the Great Wall of China, and I wished I could capture that in paint. Not “would”, but “could”. Trying to see if I had the ability to do that one day was what ultimately led me to take a drawing class. What kept me from signing up earlier was the certainty I would have to draw a human at some point. Murphy’s Law.
Working in the tight confines of the studio, I’ve learned my hair is a great place to hold pencils, blending sticks and vine charcoal. There have been classes where I looked like a porcupine with all the tools of the trade sticking out of my head. Now I need to learn to take them out at the end of class. I recently went to the grocery store and the dry cleaners with a 2B pencil in my hair after class, and no one told me. I am well on my way to being the Neighborhood Eccentric.
I always wondered why cartoons of artists have them squinting at their thumbs held out before an object. Now I know. I had a hard time not laughing the first time I did it, and I am happy to report I didn’t say anything snarky. I thought it, but didn’t say it. Most unlike me, and probably the result of First Day Jitters.
Taking an art class was something that was always forbidden – it was a ‘waste of time’ that would better be spent by another math class, and classified with basket weaving as impractical. I knew I would never justify it to my parents, so I didn’t try. I used to look wistfully at other students sitting on the cliff or the lagoon with a sketch pad on their knees as I rushed off to my advanced macroeconomics class. They looked so peaceful, and I was jealous. Even 30+ years out of school, I still feel a bit guilty about this.
I knew it was time to retire when I realized I had lost not only my sense of humor, but any vestige of creativity I once had. It was like there was a blockage in my brain that got worse as stress increased. My best girlfriend and therapist recommended art therapy, and my life coach and dear friend seconded that notion. With two such recommendations like that, it became number one on my Decompression List.