Drawing from the heart.
It’s a phrase I learned at a young age I believe started by my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Brown. She had passed out to the class blank sheets of paper, some colored, some white, and instructed us to draw whatever we wanted. As I stared at that white paper my thoughts and my imagination became just as blank. Mrs. Brown came up and asked me, “Why haven’t you drawn anything?” I replied, “I don’t know what to draw.” She replied, “Oh that’s easy, just draw from your heart whatever you want.”
Yeah that made no sense.
So instead I drew what I could see. I drew pictures of my classmates sitting in front of me. I drew the door to the classroom. I drew the chalkboard in front of the room. And even though the drawing began to represent those objects, I never felt like an artist because I couldn’t draw from my imagination. I felt like a fraud.
I had the hardest time understanding what “drawing from the heart” meant for a long time. Past through the teenage years, through college, even up until recently it’s been very difficult for me to connect mind and heart to anything in my life. I have such internal struggles anytime I attempt to be creative or to try to use my imagination. If I had known then what I know now, I’m pretty sure art school would’ve been a very different experience. I know now there exists a disconnect that has kept those two halves, mind and heart, away from each other. Two sides fighting each other in order to establish their own right as sole owner of my motivations. An obstacle that has made is almost impossible to display any true, feeling-based creativity, that which exists beyond surface level.
But through different experiences and trials I can say I finally have access to the heart. I found that part of myself that can feel emotions deeply. I’ve been able to create abstract paintings and sketch from my imagination. And guess what?
It’s filled with pain.
All this time I thought if only I could draw from the heart, how beautiful my pieces would be! But is this the real journey I am on, trying to find beauty in pain? How do I do that? How can I take all that I’ve experienced in life and bring that to the surface, to represent me? Is art just a way for me to express my emotions and my pain or is it a way to mirror your own? Each artist around you, well the good ones, they are ripping their heart out and throwing it on paper or a canvas for the public to see, making themselves vulnerable to criticism, to rejection. And I believe it’s truly because as artists, if we don’t create then we die.
Art is in our veins, in our blood. It manifests itself in our personalities, our mannerisms, in our choice of what we put on in the morning, and in who we surround ourselves with. I feel like my identity as a true artist happened when I painted my first abstract picture, about 2 years ago.
So okay, then if this is the way to become a better artist, so be it.
Bring on the pain.