Luckily the temperature  stuck a cautious, icy toe above the 30 degree mark over the weekend, just in time for some work in the garage building frames.  That means framing week can't be far behind, and consequently the kitchen will be closing soon.  Anyone wanting to eat anything at my house had better get at it, because once the paint and polka dots start flying, it's hard to find a counter to cook on. And I get a little GRUMPY if I think there's a chance someone might get a splash or a crumb anywhere near my precious frames.

Art rules in the kitchen 
during framing week.

You've been warned.

In other news . . . some of you may remember from previous posts that I have an enormous hole in my artsy self where my drawing mechanism is supposed to be.

*I've just never been able to do it.  

My husband draws very well, as do each of my three daughters, and it seems to come so naturally to each of them, but it's magic to me.  The pencil never makes the lines where I'd like them -- there just seems to be a disconnect between my eyes and my fingers.

I can, quite literally, cut a much better line than I can draw. And I can subtract from a line to get what I want much better than I can apply one to paper in the first place.  My drawings have so much correction fluid on them that there's hardly any exposed paper by the time I'm finished. I'd rather do laundry than draw. Strong words.

But I've always known the day would come that I was either going to have to stop masquerading as an artist or learn to get comfortable with my drawing (dis)ability.  So I decided to take a crack at this book, which Santa was kind enough to supply at my request:

My daughters oohed and aahed on Christmas morning as they thumbed through it . . . 
I just felt my palms start to sweat.  

It's actually a really delightful book,  and in a serendipitous twist I noticed on my email this morning a link to a blog chat with the author, Carla Sonheim, which you can also enjoy by clicking here.

Once I really started looking, I noticed that by lesson number 4 she was suggesting a trip to the zoo with a sketch book, and I immediately felt out of my league again.  Take a sketchbook?!  In public?!  To draw animals?!  By merely looking at them?  Ha.

Luckily I have a daughter with a drawing degree who is also a master educator.  Why had it never occurred to me to turn to her before?  I mean, since she spends a lot of her life teaching people how to draw?  It's a valid question. 

The moment I discovered Maira Kalman's blog, I knew that I wanted to create something similar -- a blog with once-a-month posts that I could write and illustrate with a variety of things, but mostly with my drawings.  And I knew I was going to need to acquire some skills. I also knew I was a long way from feeling like toting a sketchpad to the zoo for practice.  So I sought help from the expert.

I've only had two 2-hr. lessons so far, 
but I'm really enjoying it!  

 One of the results of Lesson #1.  We'll just call it "Still Life with Toilet Paper."

One of the results of Lesson #2. 
It's the product of looking at a spiky plant through this viewfinder:

It's HARD.  My brain hurts.
But my daughter assures me I'm a natural, and I can tell she's going to be a great teacher.

I guess there's no problem with the way I see, I just lack the mechanics of how to translate what I see to paper.  And that can be learned.

I hope.  Or so everyone assures me.  Now I'm just wandering around dissecting everything I see and figuring out where I would begin to put the lines on paper.

Hooray . . .
I've finally taken the first step!

I'm going to need a lot of practice, which won't really be able to happen until after Baltimore, but with the help of a patient teacher, I may be able to realize my ultimate bloggy goal someday.

And when I do, I hope you'll pop in for a monthly visit.  
And not to laugh at my drawings . . . (except in a good way) 

How about you  -- 
is there something you've always wanted to do 
but have been putting off for one reason (fear) or another (fear)

Why not figure out a way to make it happen?
Because if I can pick up a pencil, 

anything is possible.

Think it over. . . 



Amelia Poll said...

Fabulous still lifes :)

I've always wanted to actually learn to draw. I took a crack at it while I was living with you guys. It didn't last very long. Maybe I'll give it a try again soon.

I do have to say that quilting turned out to be something I never knew I wanted to learn to do. Having done Boston's quilt, I find I really want to do more of that, as well as get better at sewing. In fact, I am just finishing up my first sewing project since my little one was born. And it is pretty darn cool.

So much to learn. I better get started :) I'm looking forward to more drawings from you! And you do have, probably, the world's greatest teacher at your disposal.

susan m hinckley said...

Sewing goes in the same category as drawing for me -- maybe after I master the pencil I'll take on the sewing machine! I said maybe.

I'm delighted that you're loving both quilting and sewing. I'd love to see everything you're making. Keep it up! Quilting is what led me to art in the first place, so I'll be excited to see where your projects take you!

Allie said...

I've got the book "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards - she says it's like learning to ride a bicycle, anyone can do it! It's just a matter of training your eyes to really see. I've done a few of the exercises but need to finish the whole book. It's a GREAT book. I guess, since you've taken the plunge, I'll have to as well, Susan! I think you've done great so far!

Anonymous said...

remember when we decided to solve the kitchen takeover issue during framing week by buying that nice counter-height table for your studio? you know the table...the one with all of the stuff stacked on it??? Hahaha just kidding mom. And besides, you and dad don't really eat anymore anyways!

Oh-- and I am super impressed by your foray into the world of ellipse still-lifes.....way to go mom!

Lisa Cannon said...

Wow! Drawing?!? Really? I am so impressed. You will be a real artist in no time. I hate it when you throw out challenges like this however, because it makes me feel obligated to do something. There are so many things...where to begin...

p.s. The still life reminded me of the pictures of toilet paper rolls mom took for her housekeeping seminars. Remember?

Leenie said...

Framing week!! Ohhnoooo! No crumbs coming at you from this part of the world. I totally get it, Susan. Best wishes that all your mitered corners meet.

And as for drawing, they say anyone can learn but they never say how long it will take. Drawing is a skill and some seem to be hardwired with it and others, like me, just doodle and/or cheat by using the computer as a crutch, or in some cases a wheelchair. Have you looked at Elizabeth Edwards' "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain"? Very helpful in letting the drawing part of the artist out.

susan m hinckley said...

@Lisa -- hahahaha!! How's the last challenge going? (We haven't talked about it for awhile.) Feel no obligations from this part of the world. Maybe next time I'll do "still life with vacuum cleaner" in Mom's honor.

@Hannah -- very funny. I intend to use the counter height table for all my framing, but I don't think I have enough light there for painting dots. But you're right -- touche. And believe me, we're still eating . . . out.

@Everyone -- I have Betty Edwards' book and have had for years. I made a run at it about 15 years ago, but didn't get too far. The thing I'm finding about having a physical person standing next to me is that she can say things like (after watching me draw the same line 12 times and still get it wrong), "I think that angle actually is more like this, and here's why I know that," and then she points out exactly where the fallacy in my visual thinking is. And she knows so many tricks! Priceless (actually, $30.00 per lesson. WORTH SO MUCH MORE!!)

luanne said...

Very cool that you can have your daughter teach you and give you such valuable immediate feedback. Plus, no nerve-wracking class critiques!

I totally agree that drawing is so intimidating. A few years back, I took a beginner botanical drawing class. And just drawing regularly did make a big difference, but I never felt that I was on my way to a unique style; I became more technically proficient, but my drawings still felt DULL. That's my biggest disappointment so far. I look at your work, or Gennine's or Holly/Golly Bard's and see wonderful distinctive styles and feel like I just haven't found mine yet.

So be glad you have your own distinctive style, and may the drawing lessons only enhance your already wonderful Susan-ness!

susan m hinckley said...

Thanks, LuAnne! Maybe if we combined my Susan-ness with your technical proficiency in so MANY areas, we'd really have something!

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