This is a copy I did last night of a drawing in one of my anatomy for artists' books. I'm going to try to do some practice sketches like this so I can learn more about how the human body is put together. My art teacher, Richard Halstead, really wants us to have an anatomy book with us in class. Sometimes, when you're drawing from a live model, you see things inaccurately. For example, a couple of times, I've made that muscle at the end of the shoulder too squared-off at the bottom. We don't always have perfect anatomical specimens as models—because we're learning to draw real people—so sometimes the musculature isn't that obvious and the shadows can be misleading. If you know what's beneath the surface, then you can make sure you don't draw something that is anatomically impossible.
A little while ago, when I checked my drawing to see how it looked in the cold light of morning, I realized what a perfect little parable this is. The things beneath the surface are what give outward shape to our lives. As a very minor example, for the last month or so, I've been getting up each day, doing my work, doing my household chores, paying bills, being polite to grocery store clerks, making drawing in class, reading mysteries. To most people, I must have seemed fine, but inside, I was miserable.
In contast, now that my cold is gone and I'm not wondering how to pay this month's bills, life is so different. I wake up looking forward to my day again. It's a wonderful feeling. From the outside, nothing is different, but underneath, everything is. If this is true for me, how much more true is it for someone who just learned a loved one has cancer or whose spouse just announced they're leaving . . . or on the positive side, someone who just got a job or found out she's expecting. Such concerns are the things that color our world, but they are hidden from most of the people who interact with us.
Unlike the musculature of the human body, which is more or less the same for everyone, the cares and concerns of the heart are different for each person. And we rarely know all the burdens or joys another person is carrying. I hope I can remember that more often and have more compassion and empathy.