As I was thumbing through some old pictures yesterday, I found this shot of a figure study I did about twelve years ago, while in college. Wow. That is pretty good. I impressed myself.
I remember the model. She had a bit more meat on her than the other models, that's probably why I remember her. I just began my studies at Cal State Long Beach and I was having a tough time feeling like I belonged there. But I knew sitting in front of an easel in a figure drawing class...that would level the playing field.
When you take a figure drawing class, the model's don't wear any clothes. No, there aren't any robes or shawls or cover-ups or stage props. They are nekkid. After you get past dude, this person is naked! and you resist the urge to giggle like an idiot, and you to avoid eye contact with anyone...you really learn how to draw the human body. As you walk into your class and set down your stuff by an easel, there is no worrying about getting a good spot. An experienced model will walk in, take off their robe and give you a series of really dynamic poses. And they were great to draw from any angle. Unfortunately, there were also times when you got the not-so-great angle. Some days you were stuck with a fat lady's (400 plus!) rolls of back chub and dimples...the backside of a guy with lots of stretchmarks on his butt...a woman with shaved genitals and super long nipples...the chocolate spider...droopy testicles that tea-bagged the platform. It wasn't pretty. But it was art! All I can say is thank goodness the poses usually only lasted a couple of minutes--the longest was five. Then they moved and you were thankfully given another view to draw.
I stared at it the photo for a long time. I actually had good drawing skills. I had some potential to do something with the gift God gave me way before I started having all these chil'rens. And I started to contemplate this thought. Am I still considered an artist even if I don't really paint and draw consistently like an "artist" does? I haven't been in an art show in I don't know how many years. Would any talent and skill I had just dry up out of non-usage? That thought really bugs me! Sure, I do other sorts of creativity but it isn't the same as walking into an artist's studio, sitting in front of an easel and taking out your charcoal and just drawing. I just loved the atmosphere, the creative energy from the other artists, my art bin with all my supplies. All I needed was a black beret and a curly moustache. But I know one day soon, I will be able to get back to doing some of the things I love doing. Then my daughter's little voice snapped me out of my thoughts.
"Ooooh, mama, did Daddy draw that?"
And I chuckled to myself and I told her, "Nope. Mama drew it!" And she looked at me in disbelief. Silly mama, you couldn't have drawn that! And that makes me so sad because I want my kids to be proud of me...I want them to see me as a person who does more than cook and clean and yell and clean their ears and wipe their butt. I know my worth as a mother is more important than anything else...but I also want them to see me as a person and not just mama.
And when they are able to see me as a person, then they will want to be my friend.