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Learning to Look


Just about a year ago, I began drawing again.

Once upon a time I drew all the time.  I thought I would draw for my life at one point.  But, like so many adolescent fantasies, it surrendered to reality. 

Last year I joined a writing group at Hubbard Hall, a local community theatre and art center in Cambridge, NY and woke up to a different reality.  Initially intending to focus on writers in rural areas, the group has evolved into a search for authenticity in our work and our lives.  For me that meant making the choice to follow more earnestly my lifelong dream of being a writer and, simultaneously, to revive a dream that made art a part of my life again.  It’s been life changing in many ways, some of which I’m still discovering.

Thanks to my primary inspiration – my family – I’ve found my own drawing groove over the last year.  Perspective and landscapes were never my strong suits, but when the small towns are covered with snow or the hills are drenched in green, Vermont kickstarts my creativity, and I get more adventurous.  Learning to draw them has taught me the need to truly see them, but it’s also taught me to look.  

Trying to capture the snow-covered mountains meant studying them first thing in the morning when the powder dusted the evergreens, but it also forced me to consider the naked maple trees, thrown into relief against a dusky pink winter sky when the wind had swept their limbs clean.  I got comfortable scribbling craggy branches in my sketchbook and began seeking out the silhouettes during the often fiery sunsets.  I even learned to find beauty in the overcast grey that colors most of our winters.  Now, as spring coaxes tiny green buds from tree branches and the longer days turn thatch-colored fields into green and yellow meadows, I’m trying out a new set of skills with my pencils.  And I’m learning, yet again, not just to see the details in the everyday inspirations.  I’m also learning to find inspiration in everyday places and moments.