I'm having quite an interesting time seeing what comes to the surface as I work on this Artist's Way program. Julia Cameron says that unexpected things will come out, and I am certainly finding that to be true.
When I was a child, I used to draw all the time. I used to draw faces and create holiday pictures to tack up in every room of the house. In junior high, I discovered that I love colored pencils and I stopped using crayons. I created a paper doll and spent hours and hours designing outfits for her. My father actually thought I should grow up to be an artist.
Somehow I lost it. I don't remember now exactly how it happened except that I guess I thought that's what you did when you grew up, you stopped wasting time drawing.
As an adult, I have occasionally done pencil sketches or spent time with a coloring book, but drawing has remained relegated to the margins of my life. Over the years, I would gaze longingly in catalogs at sets of artists' colored pencils, but I didn't think I could justify the expense.
Well, yesterday I drove myself an hour from home to an art supply store, where I bought a sketch pad, a case of 72 pencils, and a book on drawing with colored pencils. While I was in the store, I experienced a horrible inner conflict. The disciplinarian that lives inside my head was screaming at me: "This is extravagant, self-indulgent, a time-waster, foolish, childish, irresponsible. And besides, you don't know nearly enough about drawing to justify this kind of expense." Until that moment, I truly didn't know that I had been shamed into giving up my drawing. I still don't know what made me do it. It probably was just a general attitude I absorbed somehow rather than anything that was said.
Really, I did feel like a complete self-centered fool yesterday, but I bought the art supplies anyway, although I ended up compromising and buying less expensive pencils than I'd intended. (I feel ok about that because if I make drawing a regular practice, I'll give myself an upgrade.) On the way home, I wept in the car. As I drove, I asked the artist/child within to come back to me, to come out of hiding. I promised I would protect her, and I said we would have fun.
Last night, I felt too impatient to discipline myself to do any of the lessons in the book. I wanted to play with capturing the shadings on an apple. So I drew the apple down below. I know there are flaws. The effect of it being a three-dimensional rounded apple disappears entirely toward the bottom. But I don't care because I did it for play, and I can always try again and again until I'm satisfied. I'm just doing this for myself because it was fun. I'm not pursuing this to be a good visual artist or to "do anything" with my drawings. It's just a way to play.
I think the apple was sort of an ironic choice, because I've taken a bite of the temptation to follow my heart.
Is there some piece of your childhood that you absolutely loved but stopped doing as you grew up? Do you miss it? Are you willing to say what it is here?