When I was younger I used to do things. Not the things I do now, and not anything naughty or juicy (that I’ll admit to you anyway).
I used to do stuff like read books. Lots of them. All the time. Often I find myself thinking of or coming across a book one of the children has picked up at the library and saying “I read that when I was younger!” or “I used to have that!”. Now I have plenty of books I want to read. For all my good intentions I’m just not getting around to it. My reading list is getting longer and longer, and time seems to be getting scarcer.
Another thing I used to do is draw. I remember making my younger brother sit perfectly still so I could try and draw him. How terribly upset I’d get with him for daring to get an itch and, would you believe, trying to scratch it! I would copy pictures of tigers and experiment with my own pictures.
I didn’t choose to take Art as a subject at school. For me it was something I enjoyed doing when I felt like it. I didn’t feel I’d enjoy it as much if I was told what to draw and when to draw it. The disadvantage to this was that I didn’t get any pointers or advice on how to make my drawings better. I wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t great and the pictures could have improved tenfold. Then as I got older and life got busier I drew less.
I realised last week that it had been years since I’d put pencil to paper and attempted to draw anything at all. Sitting down on the sofa one evening I was watching Oliver drifting off to sleep in the crook of my arm. My eyes followed the lines of his cheeks, the curve of his nose and the shape of his tiny mouth and I marvelled at how absolutely perfect he was. At that moment I felt so strongly that I wanted to try and capture it in a picture. I quietly asked Caitlin if she’d pass me my pad resting on my desk, and a pencil and barely moving in case I disturbed him, I did something I hadn’t done for years.
Now I know that it’s far from perfect and I have a long way to go and an awful lot I have yet to learn, but it’s not bad considering I can’t remember the last time I tried to draw anything. Years is all I know. Yet it was so wonderful to be able to concentrate, to actually look and see rather than look fleetingly at something so beautiful, so perfect and to be able to absorb that image right into my heart.
I’ll be drawing more in future, and I plan to work at improving my skills. I also plan to make a start on my ever increasing reading list. Who knows, I may combine the two and read a book on improving my drawing! How about you? Is there anything you used to do that you’d like to rediscover?