It seems that most people I’ve met who say they are no good at drawing, usually admit to having been told this by a teacher at school when they were very young. It’s a shame we tend to grow up fulfilling other’s expectations of our abilities, or comparing ourselves to others, usually to our own detriment. Because there was a girl in my class who could draw brilliantly, I naturally assumed I’d never make it as an artist since she was obviously so much better than I was. And so art did not become my first career.
I was smarter by my late twenties, and knew that if I applied myself and practiced all the time, I would be able to make pictures look the way I wanted them to look. But now there was another hurdle—trusting myself to paint from my imagination.
When I think of the ease I drew on my imagination as a child, trusting whatever came through, and what barriers I found in my way by the time I was thirty!
The drawings we make as children are true pictures of how we see ourselves in the world and should never be judged, for it would be like judging a fingerprint. Or better still, an imprint of the soul. All the information is there, for those that have eyes to see. Years later I can still recall the childhood drawings of my sister and brother as a perfect representation of how their personalities would unfold.
Mine too, of course. I’ve based my life-story on the drawings I did as a child. Or perhaps I should say my inner-life story, for that is what they were. It took courage to be so free in adulthood, but I got there in the end. I had to live alone in order to do it, and it often felt I was sacrificing a fulfilling outer life in the process, but I kept at it because it felt like a soul mission.
I am currently finishing up my second memoir of The Nancy Who Drew series, the book in which I tell the story of how and why I became an artist and how it changed my life. In those days, especially once I got over my fear of painting from my imagination, I painted huge canvases as if to proclaim to the world this is how I feel inside. My paintbrush was like one of those metal detectors combing the surface, hoping to find a treasure beneath.
The story is about the treasure I found, and how it freed me. And now I can now paint and draw small, sketchbook-size pictures of the world around me once again. Which is why this blog is sprinkled with drawings of the last few months. Because now I see how focusing on the small particulars of the outer visible world, can also reflect a deeper insight to the world within. For as I draw the outer appearance, the lines I make pick up the feelings, the energy of the subject. I don’t do this consciously; it simply comes through. As simply and naturally as my childhood drawings “came through.” And it’s how I stay in touch with that magical world we never have to leave behind…
…once we see there is a bridge…
For more of my paintings and drawings of Park Slope, visit my facebook page, Painting Park Slope ~