Earlier this week, Pamela posted about teaching drawing and then shared a post to get her readers drawing. Both posts are wonderful. When I read the first, I related so strongly to the student who announced that he couldn’t draw … and to Pamela’s desire to take an eraser to that statement. Because I can’t draw … but I can, too. I used to draw all the time, used to be pretty good at it, even. And then suddenly I believed I didn’t know how to do it. How did that happen? In my life as a teacher, I drew on the board all the time. I would always remind my classes just how much I couldn’t draw and ask them to be generous in their critiques of my illustrations. And that wasn’t about being falsely modest. Those drawings really weren’t good.
Last night at the Museum, as Grace and I were heading out of the gallery, she asked me — totally casually, as if it wasn’t in any way a loaded question: “Do you draw?” And I stuttered on my answer. I was going to say, “No.” And then I wanted to say, “Yes.” And then I wanted to say that I used to but didn’t really … And in the end I gave an answer that came out all of those things at once. Grace laughed, said that she figured I must draw because I do so many other creative things.
That made me smile, but also made no sense, you know? Just because I do other creative things (write, sew, knit, make paper, whatever) it shouldn’t automatically follow that I would be able to draw. And then it made me sad. Because I could draw. And how did that get put in a box at the back of a closet? When did I stop drawing? Why?
Pamela’s second post gives a step-by-step of how to draw an egg. I haven’t tried it yet, haven’t given myself enough free time to have at it. Maybe this weekend. I don’t know if I can draw and egg, but I’ll try. Maybe it’s the way to re-open the door to that skill I used to brandish proudly. Maybe doing the exercise will jog something loose in the recesses of my brain, make me remember how I lost my drawing in the first place.
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