Quite a few months ago a visit to the Salvation Army Family Store yielded two new, nice quality, spiral bound sketch books, an Arches watercolor block and a wet media sketch pad. All these were priced well under value and I walked out with a great find that only cost about five dollars. Ron opened a sketch book and brought it with him on a road trip. Since we are very early risers, he planned to use some of that time before his host stirred to get in some drawing time. I’m not sure how that worked out. I’m pretty sure we would both sleep longer each morning if the cats weren’t bouncing around and crashing into things in hopes of getting us up for the big morning feed. Aside from that fact, our age does require a warming up period which must include good coffee before any intellectual or creative endeavor might occur.
Yesterday, after laundry, soup preparations and general animal related chores, I ventured to our large stash of unused art supplies and located the second sketchbook still tightly wrapped in cellophane. Almost as challenging as my college swim class (which required me to, at the very least, jump off a diving board into the deep end of the pool) I opened the sketch book and stared at the intimidating white space. I might add that I was offered an ‘A’ for the above mentioned leap into the water, since my proficiency at different strokes had until that point earned me said ‘A.’ I offered to jump off the side of the pool and took a ‘B.’ I was an art major, after all, and it was doubtful that I would have to demonstrate diving into a pool during my career as an art teacher. I never regretted that decision, although another, also in college, still lingers in my memory. A very nice African professor, with a difficult accent to understand, was my teacher in a social studies class that dealt with contemporary issues. I went to a few classes and then decided my time could be better spent in the art studio. Clearly, I should have dropped the class, but instead I spoke honestly with the professor and told him that I felt it was more important to create my art. He was very kind and somehow I passed the class, but to this day, I can’t believe I actually had the nerve to speak to him in that way. I’m sure I received my share of Karma Kickback during my career as a high school teacher. In any event, I am reminded of my more passionate need to be an artist and hope that I can eke out even the smallest example of my former self onto this brand spanking new book of empty pages. Somehow, I do a cartoon of one of my cats, Berio. Not great, but at least a start. Probably not even good enough for a greeting card, but again, a start. Today I did a sketch of another one of my cats, Demi, and this one is less of a cartoon, almost okay, and quicker and less painful than the first. Even if I only do one drawing a day, it will be so much more than I have done since I retired five years ago. As an art teacher I found myself doing each project with my students. Teaching by example always worked for me. Better to show someone than to tell them how to do it. Exactly why I just need to keep drawing. The attached photo is of Frederick. He is our magnificent Maine Coon cat and of course he is sitting on my sketch book, keeping it warm for me. At some point I hope to share the contents, but for now I just need to keep making marks.