As a young child I always felt the urge to draw. Most children go through this, though. It didn't seem unusual or special. The most remarkable thing about my drawings when I was a child was that I tried to line the colors properly in an arched rainbow reaching between clouds. I displayed no further artistic skill than that. My drawings of people were heads without bodies, arms where the ears should be and legs in place of the neck. They were strange looking creatures, but I was proud of my drawings none the less. It wasn't until I was in school and looking at the works of my peers that I learned how terrible my art work really was and became so truly critical of myself, my art, my writing and everything else I touch or try to create. It seems as though I'm never 100% satisfied with myself in any way. I never have been.
When I was working, I was never fully happy with my work no matter how much I did or accomplished. When I'm not working, I'm not happy that I'm not working. When I'm painting or drawing, I see the imperfections of every stroke. When I'm not painting or drawing, I feel like something is missing. When I'm writing, I struggle to give true emotion to my words, but when I go back and read my own work later I sometimes surprise myself with what I read.
Often when I'm looking back on the past I remember things in a brighter light than what the original event was cast in. There are a few exceptions to that rule, usually the darkest events of my existence, but in general when I look back I try to remember the good rather than the bad. I think that is in part due to the fact that I'm so critical about the present and optimistic about the future that in my mind I try to balance things out. Looking back on the art I used to create, I no longer focus on and see only the imperfections I saw once I had created a piece. Instead, I see the entire piece, a portrait I myself created without help of anyone or anything but my own time combined with pencils and paper.
It's been said that I'm far too critical of myself (thank you Louise) and that I should give myself a break. While I do thing that I am extremely critical of myself, I can not ever presume to agree that it's 'too' critical, for while it is said that we are our own worst critics, if we don't have something greater to strive for, what is the point of continuing to live? What is left to fight for, to survive for, to reach and live and die for?
I've always loved the challenge of learning something new. Often if I don't learn it quickly enough I get frustrated with it and angry at myself for not doing better. When I was in school, that was a major factor in my grades. If I couldn't understand something quickly enough, I didn't have the patience to keep trying for weeks and weeks until I did get it. That explained my poor grades in algebra and chemistry, but also my good grades in College when I took Physics. I understood basic physics, including the basic algebraic equations, because they were put into simple statements. The discussion of the rate of speed of something falling from the sky as related to feet per second per second (and no that's not a repeat typo) or the water displacement formula seemed to click with me because I had a clear photo of the event in my mind. I could understand the mental images. So if I could understand something as complex as basic physics, why was it I couldn't understand the simple algebraic calculations used to define such laws of physics? It served to frustrate me more. That kind of complex frustration coupled with eagerness to learn anything and everything new lead me down a path of finding simpler things to learn about, such as history, art and earth sciences.
It's simple to be critical of myself when such simple things cause me to loose focus and interest in something. Still, no matter how long I've been away from drawing, writing or creating, I simply can't stay away from them no matter how critical I am of my own creations.
And here I sit thinking to myself right now as I type these words - all of this started because I felt the urge to draw all of a sudden and didn't know what to draw.