Why I Art

There are several piles of old papers in my old room at my Dad's place. Every time I return, I tell myself that the time has come to sort through these things so that he can clear the space and use it for his own purposes. But there's always so much to do in your home town when you no longer live there but your family still does. Gifts to deliver, people to meet and places to revisit. Before I know it, I'm travelling back to my new home.
And then I think about the huge piles of paper again, and tell myself that I'll go through them the next time. And then nothing will stop me!
This is what happens to my notes when I get bored.


I've already started, once or twice. There's nothing really noteworthy in those stacks. Notes from school, ideas for stories I'll probably never write, list of library books I have returned years ago and training schedules I didn't stick to.
On almost every page, there are doodles in the corners. And I can't remember doing the doodling. Isn't that strange? The pile also contains several individual drawings, usually abandoned halfway through, and presketches for things that are now adorning walls or fridges of my family and friends. I never remember having done those either.


If you'd ask about my hobbies as a child, I'd say things like "reading", "writing", "doing jigsaw puzzles", and just maybe, "visiting museums".
Yet when I look back on the presents I received, there is art everywhere. I got HowToDraw-books and Coffee Table books of certain artists. I got art sets and pencils and nice paper. I got museum visits (for free on your birthday in my old hometown), art fairs and reproductions of famous works. People drew things for me.
Why can't I remember?


I can only remember one art lesson at school, and that was when the teacher told me that I would have done better had he actually taught methods and art history - like he should have done. I remember being annoyed, but that was mostly due to the fact that I actually considered myself to be quite well-versed in art history and I knew I would have gotten better grades had he bothered to teach us any of it.

I don't know what drawing used to mean to me. Art was a relatively cheap way to produce a present that people seemed to appreciate, but apart from that, art was something other people did. Occasionally I'd see a drawing and think 'I wish I could do that!', but that was in much the same way as I wished I had a body like a model, or that I could play the cello really well. I've never really tried to reach any of these goals either.

Practising heads at work.
(Procrastinating while monumentally bored.)
A change in my view only came when I suffered a slump in my writing. Journaling was supposed to help, or so the internet said. But a journal looks very empty when you just get to look at an endless succession of words. Someone somewhere must have come up with a solution that would work for me. That's when I discovered art jornals.
It was a really fancy thing some people did, with a huge variety of media and lots of amazing ideas and exotic locations - but I found a few books that showed other examples. People going about their lives, and writing about mundane things, and illustrating them when the mood struck. Surely that was something I could try as well?

My perfectionism got in the way a lot - why try drawing something if it's not going to be pretty as I would expect - but for some reason, I've stuck with it.
I draw regularly, and even though the writing that was supposed to accompany the drawings lasted only about three pages, my sketchbook is almost filled, and I'm working on several others. Because somewhere in the process, art has become important. I have to do it to stay same, and I want to practise to get better. And just maybe, when I'm happy with what I'm producing, I can go back to the old stacks of paper, look at the doodles, be proud of my process, and move on.

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