Saturday, January 18, 2014

Joys and Sorrows

 I'd like to take a second, and do a bit of apologizing for my tendency toward laziness, where my work is concerned.  I wish I could say honestly that I'm at my desk every single day - I ache to trumpet off such a thing - but it just isn't so.  Weeks can go by without a single sketch - and while I've always had my moments of procrastination, I must say that I've been far more susceptible to these things since my father passed on.

I'll put it this way.  I love to draw.  Always have.  Some of my earliest memories involve the tin of Caran Dache pencils my parents bought for me as a tot, alongside the honest-to-god high quality paper to go along with them.  This has long been my finest method of communication - I utilize it when I truly want to show someone that I care deeply about them.  I adore gifting my work to those I hold dear.  It also comes in handy to pay the bills, when a commission rolls along.  But along with that sense of joy comes sorrow, as this side of my creativity forces me to come deeply into contact with my keenest of inner sensitivities... putting my soul on paper, if you'll excuse a rather hackneyed phrase.  As such, I cannot draw without thinking of my parents, who encouraged the dickens out of my love for the discipline.

 The details here are from a piece I'm currently working on, loaded with sweeps and small curls.  As usual, it's all done with my trusted pen and inkwell, which requires a lot of deep breathing - borderline meditation.  And this focus requires a certain amount of brain power - not particularly of the thinking variety, but of the instinctual, feeling side of things.  Vulnerability to sneaky senses involving grief and longing are not uncommon - and drawing suddenly turns into a bittersweet ballet.

 It can be a strange sensation, and at times - many of them - I avoid the dance altogether.  There was a time when working on these pieces was a complete pleasure, from the very moment I put my pen to paper... but nowadays, it can take time to get to that sense of gentle bliss.  At times I've spent nearly an hour in a state of controlled breathing, reflecting positively on my parents, reminding myself that all they could possibly want for me is to draw, and happily so.  It's the getting there that can be quite difficult at times - largely around anniversaries, naturally.  Right now I find myself in that state, as January is a particularly rough month for me.  December can be a real pain, as well - that's when my mother slipped away nearly twenty years ago.  But January belongs to my father, whose death, being far more recent, cuts just a bit deeper.  Combined, it can create quite a hurdle to creativity.

But breath, and determination, overcome such things.  I really, really miss my folks right about now... but there are ways around such things, and different methods which bring them closer in a positive manner.  Grief will always be with me, I'm certain.  But the adventure of transferring the emotion into fine lines on paper is worth grabbing hold of, as frightening as it may be at times.

All this said, to add yet another well-worn phrase:  Always, always show those you love how you feel, while they are here.  And just as importantly, continue to do so, once they've passed on.  These drawings are as close to a legacy as I'll possibly leave behind - I do this for my parents, absolutely.

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