Tuesday, April 28, 2009


It has been miserable weather today - snow showers with a chill in the air that gets into your bones. The kind of weather that makes me want to hibernate again, or at least eat lots of comfort food. I've been feeling artistically restless lately too; not happy with what I'm doing, feeling like what's the point, going from idea to idea and not settling down to work on any of them. I've been thumbing through some old sketchbooks and feeling like I was on a good trajectory at the time and somehow I've lost it now.

Today I found this unfinished colored pencil piece from 3 or 4 years ago. Why did I abandon it? It had potential. And I remember enjoying the challenge of trying something different, breaking out of my usual pen & ink or watercolor. I probably started it during one of these same types of restless periods and then maybe I shelved it in frustration. But it is a good reminder to me that I have lived through many artistic periods like this before. I assume that this is a pattern for me. Maybe it is artistic growing pains before a break-through, although it seems like in February and March I was feeling a resurgence of artistic energy and now it has kind of fizzled out, but time will tell.

Many, many years ago, not long after my husband and I were married, our apartment building burned down. We, along with 9 other families, lost everything but the clothes on our backs. My half-sister sent me a gift of a sketchpad and some pencils - a seemingly odd thing to give someone who has just lost everything - but somehow she must've known that it was exactly what I needed. For those first horrible months after the fire, I clung to that sketchpad for dear life, drawing in it whenever I had a minute; rebuilding my life pencil stroke by pencil stroke. At the time it didn't matter to me if what I did was any good or not, just that I was doing something that was creating a sense of moving forward. And so although right now I feel like my hand is cursed and I will never draw anything good again, I look back on that time when drawing was everything to me - was all I had - and I promise myself I will keep drawing. And I will try to never forget the reminder that my half-sister gave me - life will go on if you just pick up the pencil and draw.

1 comment:

Laure Ferlita said...

Oh, how I hear your words resonating in my head. Been there (frequently), done that (too often). I think the "growing pains" you refer to are necessary up to a point, but I think what is more necessary is a commitment to one's art, to complete it no matter what.
And ABOVE ALL ELSE to suspend judgement as to whether our work is "good enough" to be completed. We're the artist, not the judge! Not the critic! It's our job to create, so create with a diligence and dedication that outlasts your restlessness and you will be happier for it!

Thanks for stopping by my blog - I will do a post tonight on the tools I use to lift paint without destroying the paper. You'll think I'm crazy, but it works!