I've been drawing all my life, from at least aged three, that is. From my twenties on, I've sketched while traveling, just for the delight and curiosity of it.
Lately, though I've continued with travel sketching, I've fallen off the daily sketching habit, I realize this has to do with all that sketching I've shared here and on Urban Sketchers and other web sites over the past twelve years.
Sketching on location began to feel like a performance, an obligation that grew onerous. The spark that this sort of drawing held for me dimmed the more I felt it a duty and not an inner-generated (even if outwardly shared) activity, the way it had been all my life
This weekend I had to fly to Michigan to attend a memorial service for a dear friend. I wasn't sure if I'd feel like sketching or if I'd have any time to, but I packed some crayons and a brush pen just in case. Out walking in the early morning, I came upon a garden scene in reds and greens and lights and darks. I thought, 'I want to draw that!' I broke out the few crayons I'd packed and my brush pen and I set to.
After a few minutes I ran out of time and had to wrap it up.
There was my sketch. 'Yay," I thought, yay!'
'Yay' is child speak and it perfectly expresses that spontaneous delight I'd been missing. I agree with psychologists who say that we carry our child heart inside us all our lives and that is where our creativity lies.
This quick and modest sketch of a slice of a summer garden seems to me a kind of breaking of a spell. I have lots of other work going, work that I (mostly) enjoy, illustrations and a much-procrastinated-upon painting series, but this is different. This was made by the crayon-wielding child Laura who looked at something she thought was beautiful, took out her colors and said, 'Yay!'
I have four illustrations due in the next few days and then it will be time to think about my next trip to Wales. As of today, August 1st, I can say I'm leaving next month, even if the date of departure IS the end of September.
I still have so much to say about that trip and where it fits into my larger Places Project. After my deadlines, I'll be back to tell more.