Friday, April 18, 2014

Why Oh Why Do We Do This??

Why oh why do we do this??  That was the brain flow that drew me to this drawing muse.  I think that the purpose of this Drawing per Week Challenge was to force "we artists" to our drawing board,"we artists" who jumped on the Challenge wagon that is.  I am not speaking as in ALL, just those of us that I know of who are taking time to draw, then post.  I know, speaking for myself, I do not take enough time to study my painting subjects by drawing them first, no, I be lazy and skip straight to the palette as soon as the inspiration hits me.  But I do know the value of drawing.  Sitting (or standing) with only a pencil and paper to create what forces the eye to take time to follow, the light and shadow, the structure of the growing plant, the expression on a face, the curve of skin over the skeleton, so many things that MUST be intently studied in order to fill that paper with something that looks appealing, or half decent, or at least looks like SOMETHING, if ya know what I mean.  It's work, for me drawing is work.  Especially if I am doing that subject study thing.  The demand to concentrate and comprehend and draw all at the same time is challenging multi-tasking that I tend to pass by if I can.

But having said that, there is also an addictive response when I do begin to drag my pencil against some nice paper, especially with those semi-soft and soft woodless pencils.  The hushing sound the pencil makes as I manipulate the graphite in all directions is meditative, can't get away from it.  It is a muse entirely different than the demand of "draw that and  make it look as much like that as I can" kind of venture.  

So what is it, Mary Ann?  To begin with, I decided to draw nothing from life but the senses they create for me, and luckily my mood was not too dark yesterday.  No, lately I've been feeling really good about life.  Lately, challenges are fun, and absolutely rewarding in so many ways.  This isn't to say I'm having an easy time.  I think I forget what that means.  Easy??  Vat dis ting dey call EASY??  I dunno.

As I ponder at my trippy muse here, I think I see why it ended up this way.  Two days ago I had a quick mental visual ( while putting a wash in ) of a trail ( my usual subject to paint) with no ground, no ceiling, no end, nowhere to go, but a need to follow it.  A doorway with an arch.  That was the beginning of my thought.  So I drew just that on, the doorway. Then someone called me, and that was that.  I meant to get back to it later that night, but I had another important obligation to fulfill instead, fast teach my Daughter Joanz how to sing 5 songs she had no idea of how they went for a performance the next night.  Yes, I was in the performance with her, that was how I could help.  No, didn't get back to this muse until last night after our gig.  Aren't I just the luckiest gal in the world to be doing this with my daughter.  And to cap it off, she sang GREAT, even hit the high C in the finale.  And to cap it off even more, she thanked me for helping her so she could sing songs she had no idea how they went.  She thanked me so much because she had so much fun.  She didn't need to thank me, I was glad it went well for both of us the way it did.  Sure, I had some challenges, like my eyes blurring up and not being able to see my music very well.  It didn't matter, though, the amazing direction of our director, Peter Butterfield, really makes singing in a choir feel like an experience meant for us.  I am learning still about this.  There is a lot to learn when singing in a very GOOD choir, and I don't mean that as in elite or pretentious.  This choir is serious about delivering excellence.  Peter is serious about getting that to happen as well.  But he never ever makes me feel like I can't do it, it's only me who tells me that on some nights when I can't "sustain and deliver with ease", but I know I will do it, sure I will.

So how does this relate to the drawing?  Well, when I got home last night, I went back to this and just allowed myself to follow my pencil.  I decided to not decide for a bit, draw lines of movement, maybe things that looked like trees, but had life within them that were calling me.  I kept thinking about the after-performing self critiques I do, and how professionals must learn to not let those intense emotional things eat them up.  If the high is too high, bound to crash hard, if the mood is too low and vulnerable, that can cloud any decent and good moment ever had on stage.  Performing is HARD.  Like drawing, but also the same is the miracle of joy in it.  The unexplained euphoria of reaching the finish line, the sense of accomplishment after all the time and determination to not cave in and give up no matter how difficult it was.  Do performers ever think it is EASY???  Can't imagine, I just can't.

Now back to my opening sentence, "why oh why do we do this?"  Because there really is a place ahead, get through the confusions and hard stuff standing in the way, push ahead.  The place in the drawing is my life right now, beauty in entanglements that belong there, helping hands to tell me I am not alone, never was, never will be.  There is a gentle place ahead where everyone is welcome, and cared about. Rewards are abundant and not measured by success, or popularity, or judgement.  It's that glorious calm of taking a deep breath and saying "I am so thankful to be here", and I truly am.

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