Summer is officially over in my house as my son started school today. It has been a wonderful summer and I am sad to see it go. We squeezed in lots of exploring and adventuring and lazing about in the past few months. I have one more little one here at home who starts preschool mornings next week, afterwhicht I will be back to work in the studio. I have several deadlines and a commission and so I need to get busy.
Before this new season begins, I wanted to wrap up my reflection on the daily drawing experiment I did this summer. There were many benefits to my daily drawing for 30 days, plus more that I am sure I haven’t even realized yet.
1) With summer break activities and trips we took, getting in the studio regularly just was not my reality. Dedicating myself to drawing everyday got me to keep my creative juices flowing even though I was not able to do my usual. Which is a good thing. It’s good to do break routine and try something different. It will feed into my future work somehow, I am sure. I think that I may do something like this every summer.
2) Drawing with my colored pencil set that I have had since high school reminded me how much I love color. And how much I love to draw.
3) Doodling can be very therapeutic.
4) There is nothing else like drawing that allows such an intimate relationship with the object or environment around you. Drawing makes you slow down, look, and see. There is such a richness to our daily lives that can be so easily overlooked. I’m grateful for my art to allow me to explore the richness. Otherwise it really becomes such a blur.
5) My children joined me in during my drawing sessions. I loved that! Throughout their lives they have created with me. But we have never drawn together- that is, looking at the same thing, and drawing separately. They just weren’t at that stage yet with ability, independence or focus. It was really nice to share that time with them. My 4 year old particularly loved it.
I recently read a book called Eight Girls Taking Pictures: A Novel by Whitney Otto, which is a narrative of women photographers through the last century and the balance between the creative lives, being a wife, a mother, and dealing with gender inequalities. The book did not get very good reviews on GoodReads, which was surprising to me as I have to say that many aspects of these women’s stories resonated with me: the absolute love your have for your children coupled with wanting to do what is right for them, but also needing that creative outlet which is in itself a solitary pursuit.
I’ve read a lot of thoughts on the art/motherhood relationship, and when I read this, I felt like it was the best explanation I have come across. Being a mother is a two way relationship with one’s children- they need, we provide; we need, they provide. Having a dedicated art practice is another type of two way relationship where there is constant dialogue with yourself. It’s another give and take type of relationship that needs to be fed with time and solitude. Two things mothers definitely don’t have! Some of the reviews on GoodReads said that the the stories came off as depressing or whiny, which was not what I felt reading the stories. It just is. And we accept all facets of our lives as mothers/artists and do our best to feed all aspects of ourselves and our lives. All mothers do this, whether artist or not. But there is something particular about the artist/mother facet that I believe was captured in the above quote.
I love our life at this season in our lives, with all its ups and downs, the skinned knees and showering of little kisses and big hugs. And of course the balancing, which one never quite achieves. I know all too well, that it goes by quickly. If I can bring my children in my creative pursuits in any way, I’m there. This practice of daily drawing allowed that this summer and I am grateful for it.