Last Sunday night, I was not doing much of anything besides feeling guilty. There were a number of things I’d meant to do the week previously but – naturally – I hadn’t done most of them. I resolved to post another part of the A B See Photo Challenge soon (which I did) and as my mind began to wander off on the subject of art, I had an epiphany. I often feel guilty because I keep saying that I want to improve my artistic skills, yet I rarely make the time to practice drawing. I love looking at art and wish that I could make my own, but all I can do are stick figures. Or so I thought.
It dawned on me that I had improved my artistic abilities, but not the way I thought I would. I drew a lot when I was little, have entered multiple pieces in the 4-H Drawing project, and completed the “teach yourself to draw in ten easy steps”. Nothing’s worked. (My brother’s birthday was today and I gave him a handmade Doctor Who-themed card – he laughed so hard at my sketch of a Dalek wearing a party hat.) Let’s face it, I can’t draw.
But what I can do is take photos. And write.
Photography is clearly art but I was so hung up on my inability to draw that I didn’t see the obvious. I think photography takes just as much skill as drawing, painting, sculpting, or any other form of art. It’s not as simple as pressing a button on a camera. Anyone can press buttons willy-nilly but it takes a good eye to get good pictures, the sort you’d want to frame and hang up all over the house. More importantly, it takes a lot of practice, and I have certainly had a lot of practice. I’ve put drawing aside many times, but I continually work to improve my photography. I would like to take pictures as part of my job someday and I also just love messing about with my camera.
I think writing also counts as a form of art. In some ways it might even be more difficult than traditional forms of art simply because there is so much to work with. Writers have words as their materials instead of paint or clay and there are tons of words. The art of writing even includes color – when I write, I make sure to describe what everything looks like!
I may not be able to sketch pictures, but I can create them through another medium. I can’t create by hand, but I can create with technology. I may not be able to draw a beautiful scene, but I can describe it well enough for my readers to picture it in their minds.
It’s funny how I’ve gotten where I want to be without trying that hard or even realizing it. Now that I think of it, though, this sort of thing has happened to me before. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had what I thought was a brilliant idea for a project, and although I did complete the project, my brilliant idea usually did not feature exactly as it first appeared. Case in point – with my 4-H projects, I have often changed the topic and/or how the material is arranged on the poster until I get something that looks perfect. But it usually doesn’t look like what I first imagined. Rarely do my ideas come to fruition the way I originally hoped, but I’m usually happy with them in the end regardless of their final form.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I think there is always a way. There is always a way to get to where you want to be, speaking either literally or figuratively. I’m not so sure that I believe in the old saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” because you can have all the will in the world and sometimes it still doesn’t get you what you want.
But sometimes, later, you stumble upon a solution. I think we need to remember that and not be so daunted when the things we do aren’t wild successes each and every time.
Of course, the most important lesson we can learn from all this is that not doing much on a Sunday night can be a very good thing because your mind starts to wander and you think of cool stuff.