An Essay By Matthew // 10/17/2007

(Wrote this after reading Ky's post about dancing. Unedited so it's probably got a bunch of mistakes but oh well. Just some thoughts and refelctions on my part.)

Drawing. Paper and pencil, all that’s needed. Start with a few short quick lines, then add more, and more until it because a shape. Define the shape more. Darken some lines. Then the details, the small things that we usually skip over in our glancing at an object or even an event in life. Then the shading. Dark for shadow. None where there is light. Highlighting and making certain areas stick out. Bringing the drawing to life. Letting it breathe. Drawing.

A couple months ago, my Mom was going through some boxes of random old stuff in our sitting room and I was standing nearby talking about who knows what, when I paused to look at the contents of the box she had just opened. My mom smiled, and lifted a notebook from the box. I saw that below it were a few others similar to the one she held. I’m always amazed at her talent to pack. Give her stuff, time, and any size space, and she will get it all to fit. Believe me, I’ve seen it happen. Camping trips are most amazing. A ton of food that takes up three baskets? No problem. She fits it all inside two very small cupboards under the campers sink. Anyways, I’m getting of topic.
So I watch over her shoulder as she smiles down on the small notebook and then says, “I remember these. When you all (referring to us kids) were younger, I used to try and keep a journal for each of you each day.” I was stunned. If you knew how much my Mom has gone through, you’d be amazed. Every day I’m surprised at how good she still looks, even considering her age and her life. For a while, she was able to nurse two kids, care for four others, teach, cook, keep the house neat, and on top of all that, keep a journal every day for each of us?! I mean, talk about Wonder-Woman. But what took me even more by surprise was the very first journal entry that read, “I saw how much you enjoyed playing with the chalk in the driveway today Matthew. I’m sure you will grow up to be a great artist.”
At that age, I was like, 4 and a half I think, and drawing with chalk. And now looking at where I am, when hardly a day goes by that I don’t doodle at least one thing. It sometimes just makes me sit back and think.
It wasn’t always like this. I remember doodling a lot when I was 8 or 9. But about the time I turned 10, I started to turn away from it. Everything I did, I saw something bad in. And if I saw something bad in it, I hated it. So I started to dislike every drawing I did. I went to my family hoping to receive the praise I wasn’t giving myself. And I did get it. But I always just said, “Yeah, well, you just say that because you’re my family.” So I dropped away and did less and less. Even after I joined Apricot Pie, I still couldn’t accept people’s praise. Then one day, my Mom sat down with me and said, “If you don’t like what you do, then there’s no way you’d be willing to accepts what other’s say as true. You’ve already set yourself up for not believing it. Only once you believe in yourself, can you start listening to others. It shouldn’t matter what other people think of it. Do you like it? If you like it, then it’s good. Don’t judge its value to you based on what others think.” It took a while for that to sink it.
Then came Christmas, 2006. Got a brand new pencil set, brand new sketchbook, and a book about Dragons. I have to say, those were the perfect things for me. I immediately became attacked to the Dragon book, reading it through over and over and gawking at the beautifully drawn pictures. Finally, I had to try it myself. So I got my sketchbook and pencils and started to draw. When I finally stopped, I was stunned. Here was a colored and toned Dragon drawing on the front of the book, and it looked like I had taken the picture, changed it into black and white, and pasted it on the sketch paper. That was the start of me drawing. That was the first time, that I fully accepted what an artist is. Someone who, while they do see every little “mistake” in their pictures, can step back and marvel at the whole. Since then, I have surprised myself over and over with drawing from another picture, to drawing without a reference and just from my head. I still have my ups and downs, but now I know that I will never be bored unless I choose to. For all an artist needs, is a pencil and paper.


So true!

I think you've hit it on the head, Matthew. I'm encouraged by this piece because I've done the same thing in my writing.

Heather | Wed, 10/17/2007

And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

good job

I liked this a lot, Matt. It made me smile, because I like sketching myself, but I get discouraged a lot. It takes a lot of time and patience. I haven't done any drawing in awhile. I think I just might later today... :D

(oh, and I loved the part about your Mom! It must have been so fun to see what you were like at such a small age. Cool idea...)

"We have been created for greater things. Why stoop down to things that will spoil the beauty of our hearts?" ~Mother Theresa

Brianna | Wed, 10/17/2007

"We have been created for greater things. Why stoop down to things that will spoil the beauty of our hearts?" ~Mother Theresa

Love it

I love it, Matthew... great story.

And I'm honored that I inspired it.


Anonymous | Thu, 10/18/2007

we must be related

Another artist! Yes

Anna | Thu, 11/15/2007

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief


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