I’ve rediscovered an old love. It’s not a person, but an activity that had more or less gone dormant in my life. One of the first creative things that I enjoyed as soon as I could pick up a crayon was art. Actually even before that, I was entranced by the beautiful illustrations in the books my older sisters read to me. Many of my favorite stories over the years combined an engaging yarn with colorful, detailed, wonderful illustrations. I still remember with great fondness the pen and ink drawings by talented husband and wife team, Beth and Joe Krush, enliving my editions of Gone-Away Lake, Magic Elizabeth and The Borrowers.
I began to use some of those artworks to practice my own drawing, entranced by the magic that could be reproduced with a simple no. 2 pencil and a sheet of paper. I became known at school for my artistic abilities and my parents took notice, too, purchasing art supplies and “how to” drawing books for me. I am sure they would have had me taking art lessons, but there was no one in the area teaching them at that time. (God bless them for always encouraging us to develop our particular talents.)
courtesy of Friendshipgarden.com
Many a teacher’s bulletin board was graced each November with a cornucopia spilling over with fruits of the harvest in anticipation of Thanksgiving Day, a horn of plenty created by yours truly. I made my own hand-drawn Christmas cards each December (I later found a few of those tucked into the pages of the family Bible). Other kids would ask me to teach them how to draw, but I really didn’t know how to go about it. I just looked at things or reached into my imagination and I drew.
Later I would discover the right-brain connection with creativity and the way I saw things, and I learned how to teach others to do what I did naturally. (There is a wonderful book entited Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain that my high school art teacher used, and I recommend to anyone interested in learning how to draw or to build their drawing skills no matter what the age.) In high school, teachers would commission me to do portraits of family members or buy some of the drawings I had on display in my one-woman shows in the front hallway of the school. We had a shoestring budget for our art class, but that never stopped Priscilla (my teacher who is now a dear friend and fellow Photoshop class member) from (pardon the pun) drawing some pretty impressive stuff out of us. That’s the magic of an enthusiastic and inspired teacher.
I was voted Most Talented in my senior class. I loved writing and music and drama, too, and was pretty good at all of them, what with being the artsy-fartsy type, but ultimately it was art education I chose as my college major.
I chose this photo embellished with a new background because it expresses the vivid color a certain chameleon has brought into my life.
BTW, this is me in my gypsy costume for Halloween 2010. I won the costume contest. You should have heard my faux Eastern European accent.
I ended up only having the opportunity to teach art for five years altogether, and three of those years were working with visually impaired students, but I relished the opportunity to foster creativity in others. I was also a strong academic student, but I knew that for some students who struggled with academics and also failed to shine in the sports arena, the arts were the one area in which they could find a measure of success. We all need to feel we are good at something; we need to experience creativity and the arts in some fashion. I truly believe that.
That was all years ago now. For the past decade I’ve focused on non-fiction writing and photography as part of my job as a newspaper reporter. My inner artist went into hibernation to some degree (although one of my readers said I was good at “paintin’ pitchers with my words”).
And then Mr. Armitage came into my life. And I found myself undergoing a sort of — creative renaissance. It began with fanfic writing almost three-and-a-half years ago. Then last year, I stumbled into fanvidding, which led to approximately 120 vids. Earlier this year, I started blogging. And now-thanks to my darling husband and Richard Armitage and Photoshop Elements–I rediscovered the joy of art via the computer.
As you who visit here regularly know, I have been producing lots of stuff using my new Photoshop skills. My favorite thing has been using the artistic tools. It’s almost like being back in art class again, back in a place where I felt so at home. I find I have taken a particular joy in this, perhaps because it has been so long since I really used that part of my creativity.
And, of course, it is a grand excuse to look at more images of my muse, Richard Armitage. I find myself thinking warm thoughts of Mr. A–no, not those kind of warm thoughts in this particular instance–rather, feelings of gratitude to him for inspiring me so much in the first place. And leading me to come in contact with so many other creative, imaginative, terrific people.
In the midst of pain and frustration and unemployment and concerns for my future, I have found wings to rise above it all within my mind, my imagination. And that is largely courtesy of Richard Crispin Armitage and his extraordinary effect on me, an effect I know he has had on many others, the numbers sure to grow by leaps and bounds with the arrival of The Hobbit. I am certain this amazingly talented, dedicated actor who is also such a thoughtful, kind human being would be simply gobsmacked to realize just how very, very appreciative we are of all that he has brought into our collective lives.
(And thank you, thank you, dear Benny for signing me up for that Photoshop Elements class. You are, quite simply, the best.)