Wednesday, April 1, 2009

To Do What I Love

In keeping with my commitment to schedule more ME time, I am excited to announce that have decided to enroll in an oil painting class. Starting this Saturday at 9:30AM I am going to give my art another try.

This isn’t my first attempt. About 5 years ago I was hanging out with my Mom and we were talking about how many artists there were in my family. My cousins from my Mom’s side of the family were almost all graphic and or commercial designers by trade. Those that didn’t have a career in it were still very gifted in the arts. They all have incredible artistic talent. My Mom, who always wanted to be a fashion designer, is also great at sketching, sewing, knitting, crocheting and was always doing arts and crafts as I grew up.

When I was a kid I used to love to sit next to her while she talked on the phone because invariably she would take to doodling. But her doodling was far from what I would call doodling. It usually looked like the drawings you would see on the covers of the Butterick or McCall sewing patterns. You know those fashion one-line sketches that looked like Barbie Doll women with little waists, full bosoms and long lean shapely legs in fashionable gowns with interesting angles. She really has some incredible drawing skills but sadly has never pursued this gift.

On this one particular day that we discussed the family gifts, I, remembering her drawings and I asked her to show me how to draw. She gave me a lesson or two (while she discounted her own incredible skill) and sent me on my way.

I was intrigued and challenged and went out and bought me a sketch pad, a couple of drawing pencils, and a kneaded eraser and started sketching everyone that would let me. First I started with my kids, then friends would give me photos of their kids and I would practice on them. Sometimes the drawings turned out good, but sometimes they were pretty scary. My Mom’s drawing always looked like fashion drawings, but I aspired to make my drawings a true likeness, a life-like image with depth and texture.

I practiced and practiced and practice until one day I actually created a drawing that was a spot on image of my son Austin.

I was astounded that I could do this. I was very proud of my accomplishment. But as I continued to sketch I grew tired of the pencil drawings. I had rubbed a raw spot on my thumb trying to shade and I wanted desperately to add color. So I went over to the arts supply store and purchased some charcoal pencils and some pastel crayons and started again. I loved working with the colors and they were extremely forgiving. If I made a mistake I just erased and started over. It was fantastic. One drawing after another I got better and better. I am a huge Michael Jordan fan and I would sit and sketch his likeness from photos in my Jordan coffee table book. I loved the deep tones of his skin. It was a great challenge.

There were times when I was drawing when it felt as if I were looking at things for the very first time. I was looking at things differently. It is hard to explain, but all of a sudden I was seeing the lines, the curves and the depth in a different way. It all started making perfect sense. I knew where I needed to pull back and where I needed to let go and the results were impressive. I remember feeling that God had poured this gift inside me and I was discovering it for the very first time. Did I deserve this gift? Is it really mine to keep? I felt so privileged. I began believing that Yes, I was really talented; I was an artist; a real artist”. It felt good.

Then one day I just stopped. I don’t really remember why or when, but I just stopped drawing. I told myself I had the gift. I knew I could do it, after all I had the drawings to prove it, but after some time had passed, when I tried to pick up the pencils and duplicate my efforts, it just didn’t feel the same. It was almost as though God had changed his mind about the gift. “Nope, I take that back” God must have thought. “I decided that you aren’t going to have this gift.” “You don’t deserve this gift.” And it was gone.

I know this sounds pretty crazy (I told you this would get interesting) but that is how it felt. I debated whether God might have felt that I wasn’t deserving of such talent. This was nonsense. Why wouldn’t I deserve it? I had committed my life to Christ. I was going to church on a regular basis, I making every effort to walk in love and live my life to Honor Him. Yet somehow, deep inside it still felt as if I had displeased him somehow. The feeling was gone. The passion was but a burning ember. The belief that I had the gift in me had faded to a faint glow.

But here lately it is as if someone has fanned the flame again. I can feel the desire rising up in my spirit and I am going to give it another try. Truthfully, my cup runneth over. The desire to create has become so intense and I feel as if I will go mad if I don’t bleed some of this creativity off. I know it is there and it is calling to me.

I was talking to my husband about my funk, trying to explain what it is that has been bothering me and as I ran on and on about housework and homework and laundry and honey-do’s I realized what the problem was…it wasn’t all these things in my life that were getting on my last nerve as much as it was that these things in my life were keeping me from what I needed to do. These things were stealing my time and creative energy and keeping me from draining off the creative desires of my heart. I likened it to that of a man with an unquenchable thirst for a woman and his inability to satisfy his urge. Imagine for just a moment what that would feel like. Frustrating huh? Well THIS is why I have been feeling like I am going to burst inside. This is why I feel agitated and aggravated. This is why I resent the fact that my time is being stolen away from me. This is the funk, or at least part of it. I do not like it, so I am going to try and change it. Starting Saturday. I will keep you posted.


Suzi said...

No, you don't deserve this gift, just like we don't deserve salvation. God gave it to you just because He loves you. You just need to fan that spark. It's still there. I know it is!

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