About Drawing

I drew this picture of a girl from Seventeen Magazine when I was 16. I was riding a chartered bus on a fieldtrip to the Art Institute of Chicago to see an exhibit of John Singer Sargent’s work. It was my Sophmore year in highschool and I had really taken an interest in Art. I had begun a drawing class at a local studio and was learning a lot. Mr. Wolfgang, my art teacher, made a huge deal about this trip. Not everyone went. We had to pay like $35.00 to go. It was my first trip to an art museum that I remember. The funny thing is, I barely remember it. What I do remember was drawing this picture, just because I was bored, in my sketchbook, on the bus on the way there. I also don’t recall that I normally carried a sketchbook with me, maybe I had it along this day under the suggestion of my teacher. Anyway, I remember how challenging it was to draw her hair. It was beautiful, curly, loose, romantic. I worked on it for a long time. (It was like a five or six hour trip). It was one of the first times I remember drawing something that I thought was really good. When I was finished it got passed around the bus and everyone thought it was great. Mr. Wolfgang said he couldn’t believe that I drew that on the bus. It was the first time I remember really being affirmed by my friends. Then we got to the museum, and I remember only the exhibit. It was so crowded, but I was amazed at the paintings I saw. John Singer Sargent is still one of my favorite artists. Maybe it’s because the trip was such a turning point in my life. My eyes were opened. I saw art as more than just making pretty pictures. I could create what I was compelled to create. I could draw for me. Not for an assignment or a grade. Not because a friend wanted me to copy a photo of Michael Jackson from an album cover. I could draw the things I noticed around me that captured my interest. I have been thinking lately about why I draw (or don’t draw…as is the case lately). People say to me all the time that I should illustrate children’s books. I should sell my work (if I made work to sell), and they ask me why I am just an art teacher. Most of the time I just thank them for their kind words and their confidence in me…lately I have been responding that maybe when my kids are older and I have more time to myself I may pursue illustrating. I don’t know. There is a huge part of me that wants things to stay the way they are. I truly love my job. I love teaching my students everything I know about art. I love what they teach me. Yeah it get’s tiring and stale once in a while, but I still love doing it. I don’t know if I could quit teaching. I know I could make money with my art, but I also know it takes a lot of work. Not that I don’t like working at things, I am just not there right now. I love drawing just to draw. To document my experiences each day. I love that I can look back through my journals and have a visual diary of places I have been, events, and my children. For me, right now, this is what I do. So, am I wasting my talent? It seems that people tend to think that about me. They say I could be doing so much more. But working full time as an art teacher, being a wife, a mother to 3 kids (under 5), teaching drawing classes at the local museum and being involved in my church keeps me so busy that I don’t have the time to even think about trying to do art to make money. Not only that, but making art for me…making it personal…has been so liberating for me, creatively, that I am not sure if I HAD to do art that it would flow out of me the way it does in my journal. How do you deal with this? Do people who illustrate for a living feel this struggle?

Drawing at the Park

Last night my drawing class met at Cascades Park. We drew, most of us concentrating on trees and water…and then we walked up the hill to get some Ice Cream. It must have cooled off like 15 degrees while we were out there. It’s so nice to have some cooler weather for a change.
These drawings are from the park. I was sitting near the edge of the water drawing when a young boy, maybe seven, walked over with a paper grocery bag full of popcorn and started tossing it to the ducks and geese. Before long he was completely surrounded. He talked to the ducks and geese the whole time he was feeding them. It was so funny…the way he was talking to them as if they actually understood him and could reply back. I started writing down some of the things he was saying.
Before long, he realized that he had completely emptied the paper bag and announced “I’m all out” to his congregation. He started to walk away saying “Bye, bye sweet potatoes (obviously a familiar term of endearment)…next time I’ll bring you bread, ok?” I continued drawing, glad the geese were heading back to the water. Later, I noticed he had made his way (with his grandma) across the bridge to the other side of the water where he made “friends” with some kids who had brought bread to feed the ducks. He then climbed onto a large rock near the water and announced in his loudest voice, “All Ducks and Geese! They got bread over here…quack, quack – (yes he actually was quacking!)…Come and Get it! All Ducks and Geese! Listen to me! Tomorrow, I will bring bread for Everyone!”

Most Depressing Thing Today
Received a letter from our mortgage company stating that there is a 2500.00 defecit in our escrow account. Paying this back and paying the amount we need to, increases our Mortgage payments by more than 400.00 a month. How can this happen?

Most Embarassing Thing Today
I called a guy to see about getting our gutters cleaned out, cutting the Wisteria (which is out of control) back and hauling away the many bags of yard waste we’ve accumulated since Winter. As we walked around the house looking at what needed to be done he asks me “why don’t you weed?” as he pulls out some maple tree seedlings growing in our flower bed.

Most Motivating Thing Today
Same. After dinner I filled three bags with weeds.

Most Exhausting Thing Today
Sam left at 5:30 this morning for Colorado. I got up with him. I went back to bed but didn’t get a good night’s sleep because of it.

Wierdest Thing Today
Cyndi (my sister) and I showed up (totally unplanned) at Target at exactly the same time.

Smartest Thing Today
Ending this blog so I can go to sleep…it’s almost 1:00 am!

Another Week Gone.

I did this drawing last week during my drawing class while we were outside drawing landscapes. I don’t really do landscapes. In fact, looking through old sketchbooks, I couldn’t even find any. This is just a pencil sketch, which doesn’t tend to scan so well-sorry.
I have been a bit busy. Last week I crammed in a 3 credit graduate course on Multiple Intelligences. I have to take these classes to keep my teaching certificate and it’s been a couple of years since I’ve taken a class. This was a fun class. It was a Kagan workshop, but the credits are granted through Spring Arbor University. Anyway, it was fun, but a lot of information to process. For my final project I wrote and illustrated a children’s story on the multiple intelligences…I “published” it in a book that I bound myself. My instructor read it to everyone and wanted to take it and send it to Spencer Kagan for him to consider for publishing. I hadn’t really thought about doing anything like that, but anyway, I sent it along with her and she is going to update me on the progress with it. I don’t know what will become of it. I know this is not normally the way you get stuff published and wasn’t sure about letting it go…you know, I just wonder if I ever will get it back. I also am kind of excited about the possibility…but it may be a really long time before I find anything out.
There’s only like four or five weeks till I go back to school…I haven’t even started my piece for the alumni art show at SAU. The summer is going by way too fast!

You Have To Read This…

If you haven’t already read it, you have to read Danny Gregory’s essay on drawing and seeing. It’s awesome. Such a good thing to refer to every once in while…I just finished copying it into my journal. Click here to take you to his July archives. The essay is from July 7 (so you’ll need to scroll down to see it), but there are a lot of great drawings from his recent travels that are wonderful too. Enjoy.

EDM Challenge #23 – Draw Your Feet

This drawing is for last week’s drawing challenge: Draw your Feet. I whipped this out in about 10 or 15 minutes with my new (used) 3×0 rapidograph pen (mentioned previously)…and I was loving drawing with it again. I think it has been about eleven years since I have used one. It is so smooth. I love it. It didn’t do the greatest on my journal paper though. I have some smoother drawing paper I will have to use it on. So these are my feet. Short toes (don’t know why…no one else in my family has short toes)…a blister, and all the cracks and wrinkles I hate. The drawing actually doesn’t look as bad as I think my feet do. Here are a few other feet drawings that members of the EDM group have posted:
Pedal Power’s blog – Draw Daily
Lindsay’s blog – Non-Linear-Arts
April’s blog – Arteliance
Karen’s feet

I’m Back

Yesterday, the kids and I returned home to a clean house…from top to bottom. Sam hired Jasmin to come and clean while we were camping. It was so nice to come home to that. He also did all the laundry I sent home with him on Thursday. He missed being with us. Maybe next year he will come with us again. He hates camping, but I think he missed spending time with us even more. I know we all missed him, even though he came out most evenings to spend time with us (the camp was only about a half hour away).

So here are some drawings from my journal. I actually really had hoped to get more drawing done, but well when you are trying to keep track of three kids and know where they are, it’s hard to focus on doing much drawing or doing it well. I have to apologize about this first drawing of our campsite. It’s really bad, I know…I tried to make it better in Photoshop…it didn’t help. It’s way off, so just forgive me for how bad of a drawing it is…the point of it was to show what our campsite looked like. By the way, there was way more toys than this drawing shows.

I should tell you that my friend Cary also came along with us. She and her two kids, Abby and Jake. Her husband hates camping as well. Last summer during family camp she ended up coming out every afternoon to swim and hang out and we came up with the idea of doing this together. We seemed to be able to manage the five kids pretty well between the two of us and so that’s how it came about. We borrowed this trailer from some very generous friends. It was such a nice accomodation for all of us. The air conditioning was wonderful. It even had a microwave! We had a great time hanging out and doing all the camp stuff. The nice thing about family camp is we can drop off the kids in the nursery tent and bible school tent and we can be with adults for 2 hours. Each morning and evening there were services to go to. Our new superintendent (of Southern Michigan Conference of Free Methodist Churches) was the speaker. His talks were really good and inspiring. Sometimes, I got out my journal and drew during the services…the above drawing was one of those. There were many days however, that the only chance I had to draw was after the kids were in bed.
I painted this picture in the dark one night.The drawing on the right was done inside the camper from my bed, after everyone was tucked in. (Jake and Cary slept in the big bed behind mine).
I have been looking for a journaling bag for quite sometime. I haven’t had much luck, finding something that suits me. At camp they were selling some bags, purses and such that were made in Africa by African women. They use the the money to support their families. It is a really neat ministry. Anyway…I found a great bag. It’s just a bit bigger than my journal, but I can also fit in several other things. It has an inside pocket, for money or whatever…and I just love the patterns on the fabric. I tried to draw it here. I am really loving this bag. It’s perfect. And it’s so me. It actually is not as green as it looks in the painting. It has lovely shades of greens, teals, blues and yellows and the patterns are printed in a dark brown…the bag is trimmed in black. It is really cool and I am so glad I found it. $20.00 is a small price to pay for something you really love…plus it went to a good cause.
Probably the most exciting thing that happened was we discovered a Luna moth near our camper one morning. There had been a bad rain storm during the night and we found him under a tarp we had covered the toys with. He was so badly injured and moved very little. His wings were wet and he had lost parts of them probably trying to fly. When he did fly he could only get a couple of feet at a time and then he would rest for 5 minutes or so. So I drew him during one of those times. The kids were amazed with it, and chased it around. He really was beautiful and I don’t think I have ever seen one in person before. Actually I didn’t know what it was until the eight year old camping next to us pulled out his insect guide and identified it for me.
Savannah’s favorite part of the week was riding on the paddleboat with me. We all had a lot of fun and the kids loved being outside so much. I am glad we went. I am sure we made some great memories. Even though I didn’t get to draw, record as much as I had hoped, I still enjoyed the times I had relaxing and drawing. But yesterday, when I got home…it was so nice to relax. I mean, my kids were all inside and for the first time in a week I did not have to worry about what they were doing or where they were. It was great. And I am so glad to be home with my whole family in my clean house.

Awesome Garage Sale Find

Sam picked this Rapidograph technical pen set up at a garage sale. Only two of the pens have ink dried in them and may be salvaged with a good cleaning. All the rest are clean and work great!!! The cost of this great find: One Buck! Had to post this…it was too great of news to wait a week!

Archives Fixed

Just wanted to let you know that the problem with the archives has been fixed thanks to my tech guy. You should be able to access them now…sorry about the inconvenience.

I’ll Be Back.

Today I met a little girl named Myranda. A friend of mine is her mentor and they meet together once a week. She found out Myranda loves art and loves to draw, so she wanted her to meet me. Myranda sat right down with Savannah and taught her how to draw a 3-D box (transparent cube). It was so cute. I gave Myranda a Moleskine I had left. We spent the next 20 minutes or so decorating the cover. Savannah had hers and we used some old rub-on transfers I had laying around. They had a blast. I let Myranda look through some of my journals and gave her some ideas. I hope someday she will show me what she has done in it. She seemed really excited about it.

The watercolor above is of my journals. I am on number 5. Number 1 was never completely filled though, but I don’t think I will go back to it since I love the size of the moleskines so much. The one I am using now is a journal I made. I covered it with construction paper from school and the corners are already worn away, but luckily, I reinforced them with lime green duct tape, so it’s not coming apart. I customized it with a pocket in the back (like my moleskines) and made a tie for it with a piece of trim I had in a box at school. Come to think of it, I believe I made the whole thing at school. Anyway, I am really loving the white pages (80 lb student grade drawing paper) even though they are inferior to the moleskine…it’s a nice change and I am probably more attached to it since I created it myself.

I am leaving in a couple of days to go camping with my kids. This will be my last post until the 16th of July probably. I will be away from the computer and will post pages from my journal when i get back. I was actually thinking of making a journal just for the camping trip. I may still do that. I will miss looking at everyone else’s drawings and stuff while I am gone…it will probably take me at least a week to catch up on all the emails and sites that I like to visit. See you back here when I return.

What Is an EDM Challenge Anyway?

For Sultry PainterWoman and anyone else who is curious…here you go:

EDM stands for Everyday Matters. Everyday Matters is the name of a book by Danny Gregory. It is also the name of his blog. Danny created a Yahoo! Group called Everyday Matters to discuss creativity, drawing and journaling. The group is very inspirational and we also have weekly challenges. We are now on week #22 but many of us are still catching up on past challenges. If you decide you want to join our group, you will find a FAQ document in the files folder. If you check the links folder you will find the archives of past challenges and links to those who have completed them. Hope that helps answer any questions about the weekly challenges I post on my blog.