“I can’t even draw stick people straight!” This has always been my automatic reply when someone commented on a previous painting I had created or a Fine Art Portrait piece. “But how do you paint?” This question always followed my exclamation of not being able to draw and then I would inwardly groan and giggle at the same time, “I have a complicated process in which I work backwards but trust me I can’t sketch.” Apparently, I have been selling myself short for a long time.
For more years than I care to admit I have known what my weakness in my artwork has been, but I dodged it, hid from it, found work arounds and more. If you ever have an opportunity to sit down and chat with my mother sometime one of the first things she will tell about me is that I am like my farther, I make everything in the world harder than it actually is.
I adore a challenge and when I first started learning photoshop and how to manipulate images I fell in to it headfirst and didn’t come up for air. Secretly I had always wanted to draw and paint, but I let my negative voice, I call her Gertrude, tell me, “who do you think you are? You know you can’t do that your brother is the one who inherited that gift from your mom, not you.” So, I would sigh and succumb to nasty old Gertrude and go about finding other ways to express myself.
All my life I would watch my brother draw and take art classes and admire his work. He has undeveloped raw talent and since I was proud that at least one of us could draw like my mom I attempted to foster that in him. When he graduated high school I even went and bought him art materials as a gift, but he quickly left it behind much to my dismay.
Not long after that was when I discovered I had a natural eye for photography in college and then Photoshop logically came along with that. In true-to-Sabrina-fashion though instead of focusing on learning the ins and outs of my camera first I decided I would learn to manipulate the images I took. What had fascinated me was that I could change their colors and push them to extremes to be painterly.
When I discovered the world of blending images together and hand-painting light in them life as I knew it was over. It became an addiction to see just how close I could get those images to look like I had painted them in acrylics and oils. Once I mastered that I moved on to understanding exposure in my camera and playing with light in real life. My process sped up and I found that I could create pretty much anything I wanted to with ease.
At that point boredom came knocking at my door because the mystery of the puzzle had been solved. What should a gal like myself do then???
You Reinvent Yourself
When I became bored I sat down with myself and said, “Sabrina, don’t you think it is time to at least try to paint and draw? I mean how many times have you bought paints, sketch books, and other tools only to let them sit there and do nothing with them.” So, last January I started dabbling in painting and would make a piece here and there when the muse struck up her melody. I didn’t take it serious until last fall, though, when I began to feel those tinges of my addictive personality really enjoying the process of creating in this way. Yet, it still didn’t feel quite organic enough because I was relying heavily on photographs in my process.
Frustration reared his ugly head and I almost quit until one night at looked at my husband JJ and said rather abruptly, “I NEED TO LEARN TO DRAW!” He quizzingly looked at me and I confessed that I have known it for a long time but that I dreaded learning it. “Why? You tackle everything you do and pick it up so fast I can’t even keep up. If there is one thing I know about you is that if you set your mind to it, you DO It. So, find a class and take it and stop selling yourself short,” he said simply.
About a week ago I finally bit the bullet and started learning to draw without tracing and the other super complicated ways I have found to work around the most obvious solution. Trust me when I say you don’t want to hear all the nerdy ways I have found to start a painting, lol, but I’m training myself in a new way now.
When I drew “The Lioness” I had a full-blown panic attack in the beginning because I didn’t trust my hand, but she still came out rather nice. However, when I worked on the project assigned of the bugling elk I nearly fainted when it was done. I sent the preview to a close friend of mine who replied, “Holy Elk!” Kind of what I thought and then I said a prayer of thanks to God for blessing me.
Discovering this about myself has already opened a new part of my mind and creative process that I am extremely excited to see where it leads me! If I can learn to draw, the images in my mind can finally come to true fruition and not mere shadows of themselves.
Thankfully there were a few women who encouraged me to press ahead and lean into God, the giver of my talents, to proceed. One of them gently reminded me of Proverbs 3: 5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Geez, how crookedly have I been trying to progress in my art but oh how he is already blessing me since I am taking time to invest in the correct way of doing things. Before I began my study this past week I prayed over the course and that God would lead my hands and look at what is flowing! It’s exhilarating!
Don’t sell yourself short because you have no idea what hidden gems lie within you that God has planted there. Don’t listen to your Gertrude but instead silence her with this from Proverbs 16:3
Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.
Be adventurous today and find out what those plans are!