The immortal words said of me by an art teacher about my only artistic 'strength'.
People always seem slightly surprised that I cannot draw. I guess I look like the arty type. I have a disheveled air, I'm scatty and slightly eccentric. However I assure you that I cannot draw. (I had art classes at school until I was 14, after which time art was optional and I was freed from the weekly humiliation). I have always felt slightly shortchanged by this. There are many people in my family who are creative, who can draw and paint and have beautiful, elegant handwriting and yet for some reason the artistic genes never made it onto my branch of the family tree. It has always bothered me slightly but the current popular return to 'arts and crafts' has really exposed my complete dearth of artistic ability.
Today I had a conversation with a friend about talents. I asked her what talent she would choose to have if she had the choice and she answered singing. I told her that of all the talents to have, my chosen one would be drawing and painting. She suggested quite matter of factly that I could get an art techniques book, a children's one even, and teach myself from that. It never occurred to me that you could 'teach' yourself to draw. Certainly, you can practice and improve but I've always thought that you need a little smattering of this elusive artistic talent or ability to start with. Like a little seed that you could water and nourish. But what if you don't have the artistic seed to begin with?
At home this evening, I was looking through my memory box with my sister and I uncannily came across a little pile of simple portrait drawings which I think I did about 16-18 years ago. I had completely forgotten about the existence of the drawings and cannot recollect now what had inspired the sketching experiments. I can only assume that I had a similar 'I am artistically inadequate' tantrum in my early teens and decided to try to tackle it for once and all. Or perhaps I did them the day after the only positive thing my art teacher had to say was about my ability to successfully co-ordinate colours (which these days is more like OCD than anything artistic). I chuckled when I first saw them as they are dreadful but at a second glance I realised that, even though they are very poor, they somehow resemble people. And that's more than I think I could achieve now-a drawing that actually looks like what it's supposed to. Or is it? Afterall, it was the same hands which drew those lines and contours that now resist even holding a pencil. Could I train them to draw? Or is it a case of 'you either have it or you don't'? Should I go to WHSmith's tomorrow and purchase a sketch pad and pencil, and see what happens? Or should I save my time and energy to continue trying to discover a talent I already have but don't know about yet?
(I always like to include a photo or an illustration with a blog entry and it seems apt to include the drawings I discovered tonight. Yes, they're laughable but bear in mind that it took quite a lot of courage to post these on my blog so it might be nicer to keep any unkind comments or hysterics out of earshot, even if this blog is about how dreadful I am at art!)