Friday, May 13, 2011

"Some Day"

Looking through a portfolio of miscellaneous old pieces yesterday, I found this drawing done on a paper bag.  Back a few years I had a thing about pears, using the image in many different ways in major and minor pieces.  I still love the form.  In this fairly simple shape I found many references & inferences, both aesthetic and emotional.  At first glance I thought it an imaginary pear, likely done when driven to doodle, I'd grabbed my lunch bag and the nearest ball-point pen and went at it!   Closer inspection reveals the multiple shadows of an indoor setting and even traces of reflection up from the table on the lustrous underside of the fruit.  It is lunch observed!  I like the immediacy of it.

Now, seeing that mundane paper sack, I'm reminded of a certain little boy, sitting by a beautiful cast-iron  kitchen stove, drawing on a flattened grocery bag.  My grandmother had slit the bag with her bread knife, smoothed the folds and settled me down in front of her warm enameled stove to draw, not pears then but airplanes.  Her home was a stone's-throw from the airport, so planes were a natural subject. I drew all the time, every time I had a chance.  It was my recreation, my leisure time activity, and my way of exploring the world. 

It was years later that I actually thought about becoming an artist.  My mother had pointed to a Reader's Digest cover illustration saying the artist, 'Johnny' Pike, had been a schoolmate. What an amazing idea!  A real person had done that beautiful picture, a watercolor "Winter Woods" scene.  It couldn't have been much later that my blue-haired art teacher became ecstatic when she saw my purple shadows in a crayon drawing. She held it up saying how wonderful that I'd really "seen" those colors and proclaimed me a "Real Artist"!  

I didn't give John Pike credit for the inspiration then and truthfully, I discounted the appellation "artist".  It seemed to me a profession for which one had to have training, one where schooling was the answer.  While not entirely wrong, there was one major mistake in my concept, one I tried to correct  later when I had my own students. "Don't tell yourself you will someday become an artist", I'd say, "Be one now! Work at it! Do it now with whatever skills you have.  Be the artist you can be now and plan on growing!"

Perhaps you have a similar memory, a special someone who believed in you, an incident that set your direction or even an early determination of your own. Life's direction often turns on a "Time"! My friend Melissa Crandall, a wonderful storyteller, puts a photo of her young self on her published book jackets. Here she is sitting at the typewriter she asked for as a five year old!  She believed in herself early! She was then and is now, a writer!  This is the road to success. Set your sights on "being" the person you want to be.  Don't make "someday" a goal!   Just DO it!


  1. Early on,my parents always led me to believe I could do and be anything. Later on, I had a few great teachers who did the same. As a result,I have that confidence in myself and what I can accomplish. Now....actually doing it, is another matter.I wish I could be more disciplined and productive, but I'm working on it. It only took 58 years....better late than never!

  2. You are right, Pam, now is the time to be working. Never worry about the past except as motivation in the present. Never give up!