Before I learned to write I told stories with pictures. So my first love I suppose was drawing and I used to fill books with drawings of people, pets and entire towns with church steeples and castles on hilltops overlooking pirate infested seas. In time I came to think I was a good artist. My mother thought so too. My teachers – not so much. In fact in High School my art teacher begged me to drop Art because she said (and I quote) ‘Your art is too stylized’. The word ‘stylized’ in art can mean a number of things but I know what she meant. I was no Van Gogh or Gauguin. My creations were not ‘special’ or extraordinary. So I dropped it.
Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night
I didn’t miss it because by then I was writing down the stories swirling in my head but looking back, I wish I hadn’t given up drawing and painting.
I take a measure of comfort in the knowledge that Van Gogh was not appreciated during his lifetime although he did have a few ardent fans (his sister-in-law loved his work and was quick to squirrel away most of his paintings after his death).
Last year I picked up a pencil and started drawing again. It’s early days. Soon I’ll be drawing trees. I still love writing more than I do drawing but who is to say I can’t do both? When we start out in life we always start by following our hearts. We don’t wait for the world to tell us who to be or what to do. Too many movies and novels follow stock storylines so they can appeal to the masses. Are you choosing to make art that moves and surprises (perhaps even shocks) or are you choosing to follow a ‘formula’. I choose to follow my heart for my art. Do you?