If I were able to go back in time and relive my childhood while keeping the knowledge I have now, I would choose again to be an artist first and a writer second.
I was an early and avid reader when I was a child. But I was also and moreover an art lover. Art, especially picture art, is what I first saw when I stepped inside someone’s home … beyond the mudroom, of course. Drawings and paintings on people’s walls captivated me and made me want to be an artist. So I worked long and hard to be one.
When I’m introduced to people, I’m announced with the title “artist.” I earned that distinction long ago.
“You’re an artist,” friends remind me when I struggle to write my stories. “Draw something. Paint a picture.” And I do, just to get away from whatever writing problem I’m dealing with.
And it comes so easily, drawing and painting. If only writing were so easygoing for me.
So, for a change of pace after a long bout wrestling with my next novel, I took up my drawing pencils and drew a portrait for a friend and co-worker. Below are displayed the fun I had creating the art.
First came the photo to work from.
It was the only photo she had of the couple together. Photos are limiting. And this one had many lost values in the edges, especially around the woman’s hair because of the busy and cluttered background.
I didn’t like the arrangement of her and the man she’s with—they are too far away from each other—so I rearranged them and brought them closer. They are married, after all.
I began with black marker and sketched a black and white composition that I call a cartoon. It gave me a reference of white space and something very important to composition, a something artists call “eye flow.”
I found the upper right and bottom left white space threw the composition off balance, so I trimmed it out and brought the couple closer together. When I was satisfied, I took new drawing paper and began sketching in what became the final drawing.
After it was done and I framed it behind glass, a friend photographed it and gave me a copy. It’s the only photo I have of the finished art.
My co-worker was pleased with the drawing and so was I.
I love drawing. I wish I could do it every day instead of working at the job I have now. But making art doesn’t put a roof over one’s head or food on the table for everyone who can do it.
Still, if I were able to go back in time, I would still choose to be an artist first.