I’ve been spending some time looking through this book of Charles Vess‘ artwork, which I love, and thinking about drawing. And I ended up getting a little depressed and discouraged. But I know it’s stupid to try to even begin to compare my art with someone who’s been drawing daily for many, many years. Even though I could’ve been drawing for 50 years, I have not; I have barely started. And I still don’t draw every day by any means. The only thing I do mostly every day is to write in my journal. But perhaps some day I won’t have all the responsibilities I have now and will have the time to spend hours every day drawing. The thing to remember is that it gives me joy to do what I do and I should not judge the work. There is no reason to.
And as I look at all my drawings I realize how I have struggled and just how inexperienced I am. My “Purvis” illustrations are far from perfect; I was just re-learning how to draw. But they do not need to be “perfect,” there is no such thing really, anyway. And if that book never sells, it doesn’t mean there won’t be something else that does. It feels kind of like birthing babies – putting your work out there into the world, it’s scary. But I need to just keep working and not judge.
I’ve also been reading Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird – I love her writing, and she’s so funny. So REAL. I just read a section she wrote about “jealousy,” saying that all creatives are probably subject to those feelings at times. I understand that. But I often feel like I need another lifetime in order to accomplish what I want. I feel like I’ve wasted so much time and life is so short. But it does me no good to feel that way. I have always tended to feel pressure in terms of time passing, like I always need to hurry up, get things done before I run out of time. I don’t know why. There is always time and a lot of things can happen in a short period of time. I need to focus on the NOW; that is the only way to be. I always have NOW and can generally choose how I want to spend it.
I always seem to have a lot to do, but I really would like to see myself draw daily, like I journal daily – even if I have a lot to do, I ought to be able to do that. I think part of the problem is that it takes two totally different mindsets to do my accounting work, which is total left-brained stuff, and art and writing, which is completely right-brained. It’s a big transition to make and, with ADHD, transitions of any kind are difficult at best. I get totally immersed in one thing and can’t easily make the switch to something different. Sometimes taking a little cat-nap in between seems to help.
I’ve been working mostly 7 days a week lately with all this work. It’s been too hard to try to engage my brain with creative things. But I know it would make me feel better if I could manage to give myself a little more balance these days. And I have all these unfinished creative goals that are hanging there in my head.
Back in 2009 and 2010 when I was first making that “magical” discovery that I could draw, I was drawing every day, even if it was just doodling, and it felt marvelous, like I was floating on Cloud 9. It felt similar to those times in the past when I temporarily dropped everything to focus purely on writing fiction (until I ran out of money and had to go back to work). I just have a hard time doing more than one type of thing in a day. But, I just need to keep my goals in mind and do the best I can.
When I let so much time go by without drawing though, it makes it extra hard to get back into it. It would be better if I would at least “practice” every day. And that is how I will get better and be able to do it more easily. Otherwise it feels like I am always trying to reinvent the wheel. So why couldn’t I do some kind of drawing “exercise” every day, similar to my daily journal writing. Just give myself some topic, like a writing prompt, only something to draw. It could be anything and it doesn’t have to be “perfect” or a finished, polished piece of art, it would just be practice. I could use that “visual journal” that I have and have never really gotten into the practice of using for any good purpose. All my artwork always feels like it has to be a completed piece of work, I never draw just to DRAW. I would expect that most artists draw all the time. I did that when I was a little kid. But I think it was ADHD that made it hard for me to ever focus on one thing in order to draw it. I so often couldn’t decide what to draw and would give up in frustration.
And I guess that very thing is what made my life so full of frustration and emptiness. I would give up trying because of my inability to simply CHOOSE. And I was miserable. I used to blame that misery on my parents and on the religion – but it was really just my BUGWUMP (aka ADHD).
And I really NEED to write that book (re “Bugwump”). If I can just get my crazy brain to BEHAVE! But this crazy brain is MINE and it’s all I have!
Onward & upward….