"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."
- Pablo Picasso
When I was a child, I liked to draw. I would copy anything that I saw: pictures on a lunchbox, a scene in a magazine, animated characters from comic books or MAD Magazine. As I got a little older, I would get up very early on Saturday mornings and draw along with Captain Bob
(You need to be from the Boston area and of a certain age to remember Captain Bob). My teachers were never happy with my "doodling" in class but I just couldn't help myself.
Like many budding, young artists, I took art lessons with grand aspirations of working for Disney someday, or Hallmark, or even moving to France and spending my days with an easel and fresh canvases. My family would visit the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) and I would dreamily drag my feet, slowing my family's progress through the giant museum. All I wanted was to spend long periods of time staring at the paintings; thinking about what the artist was striving for, how each brush stroke was formed, what paints were mixed to get the desired color and the creation of light, or stare at the finely carved statues and wonder how the artist saw the finished form in a block of marble. Later, I attended MassArt
and was able to spend as much time at the museum as I wanted without anyone saying "move along, slow poke . . .".
For practice, I would fill sketchbooks with vignettes from famous paintings and shaded sketches of statues from Boston museums. Thoughts of a career in art still filled my young mind.
Fast forward, let's just say a good number of years, and I now live in Burlington and have two children, a dog, a cat, a mortgage and I work in a finance department. Not exactly the carefree artist lifestyle I had imagined for myself, but I'm very happy. The bonus is . . . I still get to paint!
No, it is not my day job; however, I paint for enjoyment, satisfaction, as a challenge, as therapy, a creative outlet and even take on commissions every now and again. And sometimes in work meetings I catch myself still happily doodling like a child in class.
Challenge for the week:
Perfecting your drawing skill is essential to any art form. Keep a sketchbook and find subjects to sketch for practice. For example, there are plenty of interesting places around your town or city that you could sketch outside. Or, set aside time and explore some great works in person, or at least online, for inspiration. I am lucky to be close to Boston with so many great museums such as the MFA
or The Harvard Art Museums
or, one my favorites, The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
. What is your favorite place to sketch?