December 2009 Archives
Right now I can hear surf, insect sounds, someone in my family breathing in sleep. I am warm. I am trying to store up all the senses of being in Hawai'i, all this aloha, so that I can remember it when I'm walking home from work next week in snow flurries. Tomorrow we'll go for a long walk at the National Tropical Botanical Garden - and then later in the day board the first of three planes back to Pittsburgh. Not sure about internet access en route, so I may not post tomorrow's drawing until we're home.
The palm trees, telephone pole, and ocean at the end of the road.
Five years ago, I bought myself a black-bound Moleskine sketchbook, and drew a picture of my coffee cup in the bookstore cafe. I wanted to learn how to draw, and people told me that the best way to get better at drawing was to draw every day. I hadn't really drawn since junior high school. I loved photography, studied it some, took photographs, but didn't draw. Other people drew, and I wished I could, but I didn't.
So as an early New Year's resolution, or as a late Christmas present, on December 27, 2004, I began to draw. I turned the page and drew the next day, and then the next. I drew in ink, so I couldn't erase. One day, I really didn't like the drawing, and I remember that I almost wrote on the picture, pointing out where it had gone wrong, but just in time, I realized that I could do that on every picture, and there would never be an end to it, so I made another rule for myself, which was that I couldn't criticize the drawings. So in the beginning, there were three rules: 1) draw every day, 2) don't erase, and 3) don't criticize the result. After 28 days of drawing every day, I was so excited to see how my work had changed that I made a slide show of the pictures, and posted it to my blog. And then I liked the next day's drawing, so I posted that, and realized that I could just post each day's sketch as I finished it. After a year I began making my own sketchbooks instead of buying them, so that I could get paper that I liked for a price I could afford. And I kept drawing. At 1000 days I made a short video. Sometimes in the past five years I've had computer trouble, or blog software trouble, or I've been traveling without internet access - but the daily drawings have continued, even if sometimes the posting has to catch up. (There are still some pockets of broken links around the blog - housekeeping I will try to get straightened out in the new year...)
And here I am today. Thank you all for your company along the way, thank you for your comments, advice, silent presence, and encouragement. I'm looking forward to the next five years of drawing, and beyond. As my wish for 2010, if there's anything you've wanted to learn to do, please don't worry about whether you will be any good at it. Just find a way to start doing it anyway, and then keep on doing it. Just keep going, and going, and I promise you will surprise yourself...
Fallen on the lawn. Youngest niece wants to pick it up. I tell her I'm almost done with my picture. We talk about the flower. "Auntie Joan draws flowers, doesn't she..." "Yes."
Last year, a reader asked if I'd ever made a calendar. Hmm. So now, for friends and family, I've made a printable calendar for 2010, using some of my drawings of Pittsburgh from the past few years. You are welcome to download the .pdf here, if you'd like one of your own, or one to share with a friend.
(And if you want to give someone an original drawing, let me know...)
The rough-cut edge of a piece of plasterboard looks like a snow-covered mountain range. We're patching a ceiling. As a friend would say, our results are "far from good, but good from afar." I think about the powdered gypsum in the wallboard, and remember that real mountain ranges are also made of minerals.