Don’t ask me how I got myself into this, but I’m taking a drawing class with “real” artists. One of them, my new friend, Conrad, convinced me that I could do it. She should go into sales.
So, there I was standing in a “real artist’s” studio with people who actually know what they are doing introducing myself and telling them that I had absolutely no talent.
It’s not about talent they kept telling me. So then what is it about?
Our teacher, Jude, pulled out the definition of “draw.” What the heck, it doesn’t say anything about putting a pencil to paper until about the fourth definition. Here’s the first one:
Draw: to bring, take, or pull out, as from a receptacle or source.
Okay, I thought, maybe there’s something to this no talent thing.
As we set up our paper and chalk I could feel my heart beating. Then we started. As soon as my chalk hit the paper a huge lump began to form in my throat. Where did that come from, I thought. Then my friend Maartje came to mind… and her twin sister. I remembered the text she sent me as she sat beside her dying sister. “Saskia just passed away peacefully. I held her hand. It was just her and me, just like we came into this world. She looks beautiful.”
I started to draw. I drew a circle with a line through it. I drew the dark and the light – the here and the not here – and all the time, I wept. I wept for Maartje and Saskia. I wept for my friends who have lost children, grandchildren, beloveds. I wept for myself and the loss of my parents. I wept for the time lost that cannot be recovered. Mostly I wept because I know that I have moved into a time in life when these kinds of loses will become more frequent.
And then I smiled – because as I drew I saw the oneness of all of it. I thought about a verse from the Bhagavad Gita: ‘Never was there a time when I did not exist, or you, or these kings; nor will there come a time when we cease to be.’
Maartje has lost her sister, but they are still together because they share the same deep history. The same will be true as I face the inevitable loss of more friends and family.
This art stuff isn’t at all what I thought it was. I think I’ll take some tissues with me next time. Who knows what will come up… we’re painting this week.