"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." - Vincent Van Gogh

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Is it too late to....?

For 30 years I've been making a living from my creativity AND bemoaning the fact that many years ago I didn't have the self-confidence to pursue art in college. My last art class was a life drawing class.

I was all of 20 years old and working as a graphic artist at a local print shop. Deciding to pursue my art I signed up for this life drawing class in the state university which was only a few miles away from my home. Having come from a christian liberal arts college I assumed people were draped in robes... oops... wrong.

I eagerly marched into my first class with my large role of newsprint and assortment of pencils and charcoals and before my little virgin eyes was a naked male larger than life... hands crossed behind his head and spreading all fours in the direction of my easel. So I focused on the classical music and the head of the model.

Unfortunately when the teacher would come around, he wanted whole body gesture drawings and soon wanted more detail than I truly wanted to see let alone draw.

I attended about four more classes and then couldn't take it anymore and dropped out.

That was the last time I picked up a pencil or charcoal to actually draw something seriously, until Tuesday when I attended a continuing ed portrait painting class at my local art museum.

Once again I waltzed into the room with eager anticipation. Easels were scattered around the room as we took our place around the center. The woman next to me asked where the model was going to stand and I had a memory from the past - although this time, there was no panicking about a live model. This time my panic was about DRAWING!! It had been SO MANY YEARS since I have even tried to draw. For years I've been relying on my photographs and in my mural business I used a projector to save time and ensure perfect proportions.

The instructor whipped out a skull from her bag and proceeded to explain bone structure in the face, sketched it out for us and now it was OUR turn. I WAS A NERVOUS WRECK!

Happily I learned that drawing is like riding a bike.... it is not a gift that goes away. The core of who you are is still there many years later. I had my skull done in 10 minutes flat while half the class was still struggling over the dimensions. When the instructor came by she said my proportions were good and showed me a few things that I could correct - one being the placement on the paper. She said she would show me how to "frame" an image - which I thought was so funny since as a photographic instructor I teach that to other people. I told her I was so caught up in actually drawing the skull I wasn't thinking of composition on the paper.

I left my class invigorated and quite frankly GIDDY! I hardly recognized myself or my energy level as I sped down the highway singing at the top of my lungs and the bounce in my step was in par with winning the lottery. It felt great to be involved in something so near and dear to my heart, something that I had walked away from earlier in life and yet pulled me back with a sparkling cord.

The moral of my story today....get back out there in the world and do what you love - even if you are afraid to fail. Don't let fear hold you back!

Are there things that you love to do that you just aren't doing because you are afraid? Get back into it - it is NEVER too late and it's great for the soul!

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