I’ve been working on the below drawing for a few days now.
And I can’t seem to bring myself to finish it.
I wish I knew why.
Like a lot of kids, I was really passionate about art early in life. I drew voraciously, particularly what I considered to be photograph-quality images of horses. Horses posing, horses galloping, horses jumping over other horses… there wasn’t an equine subject with which I wasn’t fascinated. As I grew up, I learned how to soften lines, master subtle shading, and even began to capture facial expression – and I became quite good. Eleventh grade was my favorite year because I had a fabulous art teacher named Miss Viola. She saw potential in me. She encouraged my creativity.
I was the art teacher’s pet, if there is such a thing.
After my eleventh grade year, my family moved from Clermont, Florida (if you’ve never heard of it, don’t worry – it’s become nothing more than a suburb of Orlando) to greater Orlando (as in, five-minutes-from-Universal Orlando). This means new schools for all of us.
Starting at a new school during your senior year is hard. My sister, Katt, was beginning her sophomore year, and my younger brother, Alex, was in middle school. We were used to being nomadic, but no matter how accustomed to moving you may be, picking up your life during formative teenage years is a challenge. But we acclimatized. We survived. 🙂
Something happened when we moved to Orlando. I enrolled in all AP courses, met one of my best friends, and graduated Magna Cum Laude.
But I stopped drawing.
I guess, if I think about it, it’s not shocking. Moving changes you. I’d spent three years at a high school with friends that I loved (and still love to this day!), enjoying teachers and classes that made me crave learning. I was an actress, too; exploring the spectrum of theatrical performance. I stopped that as well. I haven’t done it since, and I miss it terribly.
But why did I stop drawing?
My hypothesis is this: I lost sight of some important things when I turned 17 and moved to Orlando. My life became studying for AP exams, trying to master trigonometry, and haphazardly attempting to build new relationships with classmates. I forgot that I was more than just an academic; I was an artist as well. Somewhere, from someone, I’d absorbed this notion that the arts were a waste of time and energy.
What an absurd thought. Without the arts, we would live in a barren wasteland of a world. To be sure, it would still be a beautiful Earth, but I don’t think our people would be as beautiful. We would see things from a single perspective. Art tells stories, relates feelings, and sparks ideas. Art gives us perspective on the world. On each other.
So if you’re one of those folks who “used to” paint, draw, sculpt, write, act, make films – whatever it was that you loved – think about why you stopped.
Think about that moment. What pulled or pushed you away from that passion? Did you simply grow and change? Or was it some external force?
While I might not have technical skills or knowledge, I do have passion. I do have joy. It’s there. Color and line and poetry and prose and character and story live in me, and it’s time I opened the Pandora’s box that is my soul.
Will you follow suit and open yours? 🙂