Last February I wrote a Post partly prompted by a question that interested me; why do so many people say “oh I wish I could draw…” but never or very rarely even pick up a pen to doodle? Is it perhaps the safest thing to say whilst negotiating around an artist who is busy sketching the entrance to your favourite cafe? Whereas – “Looks a bit wonky to me”…. or …”are we both looking at the same thing here?”….or ..”aren’t you the clever one”… might be deemed inappropriate?
If even a small percentage of those who say they would love to be able to draw really meant it – then why is drawing, sketching, painting and even doodling considered the activity of a few people rather than a general pastime enjoyed by so many like reading, keep-fit, baking or watching the TV?
After my initial Post I started a sort of series looking at ways to encourage involvement in art activities, such as tips on impromptu sketching, and on joining a friend or a sketch club, or keeping an art journal, or suggesting enrolling on an art class.
I do like to take my own advice occasionally (hum!) however I find that I still experience difficulty sitting down and just doing even very quick sketches. Of course it is because I am busy doing other things – which is true - however is that an excuse and why? For me drawing is my no.1 priority at the moment so why this hesitation?
I remember a friend telling me that she rarely sat down and read a novel, and when she did she felt guilty. Why? It turned out that her family considered reading as something one did when there was absolutely nothing else to do, basically an activity relegated to pool-side holidays when it didn’t matter that you were ‘wasting’ time. Unlike my friend I was always encouraged to read as it was considered ‘educational’ however doodling or sketching was considered ‘messing about’. Art classes at school were often viewed as ‘fun’ sessions compared to double History or even PE and going to art college was seen by many as the ‘easy’ option compared to taking a course at a technical college or university.
So is it guilt that is discouraging me from sketching morning, noon and night? Is there a little voice in the back of my head that is asking me if there isn’t something more useful or sensible I could be doing such as reading (educational, keep-fit (healthy), baking (practical) or watching TV (relaxing).
As well as the sheer enjoyment and satisfaction to be had, there is plenty of talk in the media regarding the health benefits experienced when participating in art activities, art therapy being one of them. Of course scribbling, doodling and sketching can enhance and help other craft activities such as textiles and ceramics and so the list of benefits go on.
Am I alone in this feeling of guilt or do others feel similar?