Life of an artist life of an artist
Here I am standing in front of what may be my first real piece of art. What a great way to start a blog about championing creative action and the serendipity, blessings, and adventure that happen as a result. I can't believe I still have this painting, am I ever glad that I do. In high school I doodled a lot because I knew I couldn't draw, or rather just had not learned how. Our intrepid art teacher encouraged the keeping of a sketchbook so I bought one with my birthday money. It was the first blank book I had ever owned. It was up to me to fill it. So I doodled quite a bit because I knew I had to do something even though I thought I couldn't draw. Her class was no fluff class. She held firm belief in the higher powers of Art and practiced stern encouragement. Her sharp wit was vibrantly accentuated by funky pants, and the use of shouting if it was helpful. There are many things I have not thanked her for. One of them was advocating special permission for me to use the library boardroom to work on my doodle enlargement project. Looking back now this may have been when a mere interest switched into vocation, obsession, career. This was my first taste of 'studio time', an uninterrupted alone sacred space with specialized equipment (the overhead projector). The goal was to turn this tiny doodle into something much bigger so by way of perspective it would transform into artform, or something like that. It seemed risky at the time, it seemed important. I was responsible for the outcome to be art, even though I couldn't draw very well. Somehow 27 years later I still have the painting, the sketchbook, the original doodle cut from said book, and a picture of my disgruntled young artist self to link it all together. I will admit this is a bit hoarderish. In this case I'm fine with that. And I'll be stealing this idea from my 16 year old self because I found the book full of underdeveloped doodles from back when I didn't know how to draw. Maybe this is a digression of sorts; this business of honoring a doodle, especially because now after countless sketchbook hours, I have learned to draw quite well. When I think of all the pieces and projects, classes, shows, sales, failures, events, inspirations, and friendships that have come from living an artful life, I feel so grateful. Imagine if we took all of our smallest try's and expanded on them, if we made them way easier to see. Maybe the doodle is the most important thing. I'm glad this one lasted. Thanks Dad for making such a sturdy support. Thanks Tobias for filling the gap in the wall with it at Paul's Hall all these years. I would have maybe used it for a sign, burnt it, or painted it over. It's a great reminder that simple creative acts are the starts of better ones. It is true. I have been doing this for most of my life - working doodles into artforms.
- Sarah Irwin March 15th, 2021