Drawing seemed like a simple dream when I was a kid. I could always find a pencil; finding a blank sheet of paper took more effort, but if none could be found I’d just fold up a piece of notebook paper (returned and scored homework) and work on that. I learned to ignore the lines and focus on learning how reflections appeared, how highlights looked, etc. I loved it. Sometimes when I came home from school and my parents wanted to know what I learned, I wanted to share my excitement over drawing discovery but I knew they wanted something else from me. At least, I always thought so back then.
By the time I went to community college and took Drawing 1 my parents were more accepting of my love of art. In high school, I’d been recognized as “an artist” so taking more art classes in college was natural. I loved learning new drawing media (especially charcoal!) and learning new techniques I never dreamed existed. Art history, life drawing and beginning painting all opened up a new wider world to me. I decided that sharing my love of art through teaching art was the way to go – and my parents agreed to support me in that endeavor.
So I had to ask myself: how are you going to teach others to do what comes naturally to you? Back then, if someone asked me how I drew something, I’d answer: “I just look at it.” Not something I’d say to a student…but not completely wrong either.
Looking is just the beginning. It’s seeing, focusing, responding. It’s a meditation, it’s a prayer, it’s a silent plea to be still and know…to know that the conversation goes on all the time and I need to pay attention now and then or miss out.
Life moves so quickly these days with the constant bombardment of advances in so many areas. But as Ferris Bueller once advised, if you don’t stop and pay attention, you might miss something. Finding the time to pay attention is no longer a luxury – it’s a must. Like the day my last day lily of the season appeared and I told myself “I should draw that” but before I knew it I was giving my attention to myriad other things. The day lily closed on another day – another lost moment of attention afforded by the act of drawing and getting to know and meditate and wonder.