I have a long history with drawing but almost no history in making decisive, finished, framed pieces that I would be proud to offer as gifts.
This must change.
In elementary school, I poured over Stephen Gammell's illustrations in the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book series. In high school, I took several art classes that taught me to be uptight about the process. My college experience was filled with hours listening to Bob Dylan while drawing bovine jawbones, white plaster balls, and life-drawing models.
Drawing, especially from observation, is an essential skill to any artist, but it should be a means to an end. My hands only seem to produce lonely piles of sketches.
I want framed stories hanging on my wall, posted on my website, and placed in the hands of loved ones. Drawing has never been absorbed by my non-art interests and sprouted leg of its own. In short, I need to be building gifts not sketches. My drawing skills should be a vital ingredient of a larger project.
Part of my effort on this blog, is to document my drawing process and move forward. I just want to develop my potential to it's fullest. Part of what drives me is my work-a-day life.
My profession puts me in close contact with failing health and death. In response, I simply want to use my time well. I don't intend to sound romantic or wistful, I'm just stating a fact - we don't have a lot of time to do what's important to us. I have love and health and opportunity in my life and I am grateful. I simply want to make use of these things before I lose them. Sound dramatic? I'm just getting started.
In framing my intentions, I want to include the dedication to East of Eden by John Steinbeck. In trying to read the books my father read I've put this one on my list for 2015...or '16. I've read the dedication again and again though, and I love the honest and beautiful sentiment. I read it as a lesson on how and why to build a gift.
You came upon me carving some kind of little figure out of wood and you said, "Why don't you make something for me?"
I asked you what you wanted, and you said, "A box."
"To put things in."
"Whatever you have," you said.
Well, here's your box. Nearly everything I have is in it, and it is not full. Pain and excitement are in it, and feeling good or bad and evil thoughts and good thoughts—the pleasure of design and some despair and the indescribable joy of creation.
And on top of these are all the gratitude and love I have for you.
And still, the box is not full.
So now that the stakes are high, my intentions lofty, and failure almost certain, let the humble work begin (think cat drawings).