I have drawn a lot of pictures and each one has helped me develop my skills in different ways. There are two in particular that I will never forget that developed me as an artist and as a person. I was told by one of my college professors that my artwork was good and it was a remarkable resemblance of what I was intending to draw but something was missing and I was not a true artist yet. I was almost too egocentric and feeling insulted to listen to what he said next….but I did. He said that “artists will have a few magical moments that inspire them beyond reason and when that happens, their artwork changes in a way that makes them a true artist”. Confused, I tried to question him and all he kept telling me is that I will know when those moments happened and it will change me and the artist I was meant to be. Well, I was 19 and thought he was a crazy man that should have retired years prior; that was until about 4 years later…..when I suddenly found truth in this wise man’s words. I had two moments.
This is the first picture that I worked on that created one of those ‘moments’ and I am sure you can understand why…..
The story? I was honoured to be selected as the Artist of the Month in our small city and had the opportunity to have my an art exhibited for a month in a gallery style. I was looking for some pictures to draw to add to my pieces and complete my exhibit. I asked a friend of mine who’s husband was in the Canadian Military and she jumped at the chance and gave me a couple pictures. I drew a picture of her husband first which was a close up, face portrait that I normally did as it was in my comfort zone. Like most of my drawings, I completed it in less then two hours. The next pictured I started on was the one above. This picture was of the other gentleman’s friend and was taken while they were deployed in Afghanistan. This picture had a lot more too it. This picture did not exist in my comfort zone. This picture changed me.
My patience was getting tried and I kept struggling with the detail. When I wanted to give up and choose a different picture to draw, I would focus on the truth that lived in this picture. I did not know this man, but I could see what he stood for and only imagine what he and others in his position went through and why….heck, and all I had to do was draw. After about 9 hours and a lot of erasing; I finished. I stood back, took a breath and studied my accomplishment. I had my moment. I felt like I captured the inspiration and I found in this drawing what all of my others had been missing. Till this day I can’t explain it, but yet, I understand it. After this drawing, I realized I could venture out of my comfort zone and tackle the more difficult pictures. I built upon my confidence and increased my patience…which if you knew me, you would know it is not easy to do! My art has expanded since this picture and I will be forever grateful for that.
The second moment…
I didn’t want to post the picture in order to protect people’s privacy, but I would still like to tell my story as it changed my outlook to who I was as an artist and it gave me an understanding of a small but meaningful purpose. I decided to do a drawing for a friend who had lost her husband a year prior and her family was able to find me nice picture of the two of them. Her husband had an accident years ago that left him in pain a lot of the times and he found himself struggling, but he was a very strong man, filled with kindness. I didn’t have a lot of trouble with most of the picture, but I had some trouble drawing his eyes because there was some shadow in the picture and I couldn’t see the detail that I needed. I did some erasing, and was getting worried because I think that the eyes in a drawing hold a lot of value to the identity of the person in the portrait. If the eyes are a little off, it could change the picture completely and not look like the person at all. For the first time, I didn’t rely fully on the picture, I just drew what I felt was right.
After all said and done, I framed and wrapped the picture. My friend didn’t know that I was drawing this so I gave it to her at a small family gathering as a surprise and I will never forget her reaction when she opened it…. she cried and couldn’t stop. At first I thought I didn’t do a good job and my portrayal of his eyes must have ruined the picture. When I clearly focused, I realized that her tears where those of happiness. Another thing happened; I cried. People who know me can tell you that I don’t cry. I can count on one hand the amount of times that I cried in my adult life, but I cried. It hit me like a tonne of bricks when she turned to me and told me, “It’s his eyes, they’re his eyes before his accident, before his pain…it’s like he’s telling me he isn’t in pain anymore”. She explained that the drawing helped her in so many ways and she continued to thank me. I will never know what or who was guiding my hand when I drew his eyes, but something happened. That was the moment I learnt to trust in other things than the picture I am using. That was the moment that I knew why I wanted to draw….to make people happy. I not only draw for the love of drawing, but the passion to make people happy or evoke the feelings they need. Just another way I can change the world of another person, even it is just for a second. That purpose is priceless.