I never thought of myself as an artist

March 17, 2018
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I never thought of myself as an artist

I never thought of myself as an artist

“I did art in school like everyone and never thought of myself an artist. I was a writer and good student and was going to go to college and do something responsible. There were 52 people in my class and Jenny Wilson was the artist and I was the writer and poet. I took art classes in college and stayed up all night with sculpture installations. Whenever I did art, it was all I wanted to do, but I never categorized it in my mind as something I could do more than a hobby. This is my first juried art show and I never dreamed I would be doing something like the Fairhope Arts & Crafts Festival.

I went to law school when I was 30. When I finally had time to do something that wasn’t art, I started taking a figure drawing class as my relief. When I was practicing law in California I was so stressed out and detached from everything that on the weekends I went to a figure drawing group just to grasp at a little bit of joy. I have drawn a lot of things but the only subject I don’t get bored with is drawing is the human figure. There is always something new to discover with amazing shapes and shadows and unexpected lines to dive into.

All of my drawings are from life. I run the figure drawing group at the Eastern Shore Art Center and we meet on every Tuesday night. Models come in and sit in a pose for 2, 5 or 20 minutes. They aren’t wearing clothes and it is vulnerable for the model and the artist. The models say they feel strengthened from being unclothed because it peels away insecurities. There is nothing to hide and they say it is empowering. I start with a pose and putting something on paper and there is no end product in mind. I am just trying to connect my hand and my eyes without letting my brain get in the way too much. I want to capture a spark of life. If that happens, the drawing is a success, even if it doesn’t look exactly like the model. The beauty is when you connect with something in the drawing, and it reflects something of yourself back to you. It doesn’t matter what I think about the drawing. What matters is the connection it makes with someone else.

I have a few tricks to help my brain let go. Sometimes I start with shadows and ignore the lines and forms. Other times I start with scribble drawing to get the movement started. Nudes can be weird for other people and it makes them uncomfortable as they walk by. I was a Methodist girl raised in the South and I should probably be uncomfortable with it, but I am not. I see the beauty in the human body. The people who are drawn to it come in and the ones who aren’t walk by. That is true of all art, mine just has an extra social nuance.

I want to keep getting better at drawing figures. Maybe I can sell my work and make enough money to do it and cover childcare. I never understood golf and how people can chase that perfect swing until I found what it is like to see someone connect with my work and hear what it means to them. That connection with people is addictive. That moment is my perfect swing.”

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