Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Why I started drawing (again)

new art supplies, amongst other things

As a child I always made art. Be it by drawing, painting, or cutting and pasting pieces of paper. I loved art classes in school, and in high school I even chose art as one of my subjects to graduate on. Graduate I did, only I never spent much time making art again.

That last year in high school, learning about art history, working on graduation projects, it was fun. Mostly because of the extra time spent in art class, and working together with my friends, listing to Alanis Morissette, LIVE and Anouk. Our teacher was friendly, but there never was much room for imagination or interpretation. That became very clear on the day another art teacher substitute for her. She was so excited, gave us good pointers and above all, encouraged us to use our imagination, to develop our own style. Man, I was jealous of the class who had her as a teacher.

By the next week our teacher returned. She looked at the work I had done under the supervision of the substitute teacher and there was nothing but critique. I'm sure that if it was constructive criticism she gave, I would have remembered it today.

Fast forward fifteen years. Even though I never stopped drawing all together - I always doodle, and have started a few paintings over the years, though never finished one -  I never truly picked up where I left off. Some time ago I watched an interview with the lovely Lisa Congdon. I love her work and have followed her blog for many years. In this video she is interviewed by Jonathan Fields for the 'Good life Project' and they get to talking about how 'when your not making stuff, there is this part of you that aches' and Lisa continues to talk about how she didn't even know back in the day, that not making art was what was causing the ache. This struck a chord with me, as I had always assumed that people who made art, had always known that this was what made them happy. Apparently not. This opened a imaginary door for me.

See, over the last years, lot's of areas in my life have changed. Still, there always seems to be something missing, even though I'm living together with a great guy who makes me laugh and puts up with my crap, even though I earn my living doing what I love, even though I travel a lot, etc. etc. Upon listening to the interview with Lisa and their discussion about art and aching, I started wondering if that is what's missing: making art. Well, why not give it a go?! For real this time. Nothing to loose, only insight to gain. So I brought out a few fineliners and an old sketch book and just started drawing things, lines, words. The day after, I bought a canvas and started painting. The day after that I painted some more, bought new art supplies and finished a painting.

Fast forward a few weeks and I'm still drawing, every day and I'm loving it. Whenever I feel overwhelmed with work, or a bit blue, I grab my sketchbook and all my worries disappear. I always thought I processed things by writing about them. Perhaps this is still true, but to quiet my mind and to feel instantly happy, I draw.

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