I finished my project for today in the late afternoon. I hadn’t taken the time to post either the drawing, nor the accompanying text until now. Just yesterday I had spoken to Dan about the tone of this blog. I feared it was becoming a little “woe is me”, and quite frankly I have no tolerance for whining. I told him I was planning to expand a little on my personal history, and despite my complaints here of feeling as though my artistic gifts were sorely under appreciated (because it’s true), all of my history and the people in it, make me who I am. That was the plan, and it seems that with this blog the plans I make the day before are rarely the things that happen.
This morning the line of a poem came to my mind. I haven’t said so here before, but I also like to write, and have done so for years. New plan! I was going to take the line, which by mid-morning had become several lines, and write it all down, and then my intention was to in some way illustrate either by paint or pencil the thoughts I was having. I even had some idea of what it should look like in my head, but then I came downstairs and looked at a drawing that I began yesterday. It is of the niece of one of the dearest friends I have ever had. She is four, and in her short history, (which I will not share) she has had much loss and sadness. I put aside the brilliant epiphany of my poem and began to finish her portrait. As I sat here this afternoon working, the news of the tornado in Oklahoma appeared in the news feed on Dan’s phone. We turned on the television in time to see the devastated school. In the course of less than a single day the some of what I feel, the self-pity, the feeling of being inadequate, the chip on my shoulder, seem petty. Sure, I’m entitled to my own human struggles, everyone is. No ones pain is any less than that of another, because pain, its causes, and its individual effects are just that, individual. But when I look at the face of this beautiful child, her history, her future, and the futures that so many children won’t have, I see my struggles in a different perspective. It doesn’t mean I won’t continue to look at the whys and hows of who I am. It just means that maybe I won’t be so hard on myself. That I will continue to grow as an artist, and in the process become a better, and more whole human being.
A little note about my materials. I worked in a grocery store for more years than I care to think of. It was then that I began to draw on the blank side of the bags. I love the look of chalk on brown paper.