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Saturday, 4 June 2011

On not being able to draw...

I have always felt I was a bit rubbish at drawing. This goes back a fair old way, to when I was on my Foundation course at Salisbury College of Art (now Wiltshire College) and to drawing at school. I remember being asked on Foundation to draw the life model walking back and forth along a catwalk. I felt hopeless and helpless and had no idea where to start. So, frustration rising - I cried. My drawing experience at school had been limited to still life and non -moving objects! I managed something, but it was the experience that was formative, not the drawing. More of the baggage was added at college, when a tutor told me I had limited skills at college and wouldn't ever really progress. It was a stupid thing to say and not uncommon in the environment of college crits.
The problem was that that little comment stuck with me for years. It was a demon that sat on my shoulders and smirked at me, whispered in my ear that I was fooling myself. It was debilitating and stopped me trying to draw for years, it was just too scary.

I am 44 now though and I have moved on. Grown up a bit I suppose. Life experiences happened . I had children. My personal life was turbulent because of un-dealt with grief over my mother's early death and a father diagnosed with Parkinson's. Somehow drawing in a little book wasn't so scary, it was a nice place to be away from the pain.
And so a few years back, I started to draw in a sketchbook. A sample from Seawhite's. Small enough to pack with the spare clothes for the kids on seaside holidays and big enough to feel I wasn't cramped, along with an old artist watercolour set I was given a very long time ago from a treasured friend. They were snatched moments when I drew and I knew they were just for me.
And here in another little leap of faith, they are for you to look at and enjoy. They aren't brilliant, but when I look at them I remember the exact time and place and how I felt at the time. In essence they are a bit of captured time.

Maybe I can draw, a bit, after all.

From the top:

Gravely Church, Hertfordshire
Winterslow churchyard, Wiltshire - where my mother is buried.
Walcott beach, North Norfolk - in the rains, so its s bit splodgy.
My son crabbing at Wells-next-the-sea, North Norfolk.
Ashwell Springs, Hertfordshire.


  1. You draw very well! What a dreadful teacher to say that to you - probably didn't want to teach and felt frustrated.

  2. what beautiful sketches - you must be very proud, wonderful work

  3. These are lovely Vanessa

  4. Gosh - thank you! It was a daft thing for tutor to say, talk about not inspiring a student! I have often wondered if it was reverse psychology, to make me work harder.:-))