Deserving to Draw

Keeping the pencil, pen, or paintbrush in motion is key.

Something quick and simple I did last week.

That little black voice is at it again–you know, the one that asks, “Who do you think you are?” and “What do you think you’re doing?” every time I sit down with my art journal. Yeah, that one.

I don’t know about your inner critic, but when mine is fed a large dose of exhaustion and stress, it grows from a small voice to a deafening roar. It no longer asks snarky questions; instead it demands to know, “Why are you bothering to draw!”

After all, it reminds me: you’ve never been to a drawing class; you haven’t paid your dues at an art school; you’ve had brain surgery and now your right hand is messed up; you have few technical skills; and also, the boys probably need a snack so you should put your pencil down and go be a good mom.

But the thing about giving in and putting the pencil down is this–it doesn’t quiet the voice. The voice never says, “Ok, you’ve done the laundry, read to your sons, paid your dues and been a good girl. Now you are allowed to make art. You’ve earned it”

The only way to stop the verbal raging is to do exactly the opposite: pick up the pencil or pen or paintbrush and keep it moving. As soon as I stop, the voice comes back again and asks, “What is that? Whatever it is, it’s not drawing and it’s not art.”

For now, my answer comes from the introductory pages of the Drawing Projects book I just started, which defines drawings as a record in marks of your emotional response to the situation. I love this definition. It doesn’t say that your drawing has to look a certain way or show a certain level of ability. It doesn’t say that if you aren’t good enough, you are disqualified.

It says all you need to be able to do is feel and then want to translate that to a page. And that, I can do. Besides, doing it keeps the voice quiet.

2 thoughts on “Deserving to Draw

  1. I have that same voice in my head. And the “why are you bothering to draw” is a new one for me. I said it out loud the other day to my husband and he looked at me as if I lost my mind… gave me a stern talking to and screwed my head back on straight (for now). I love him for that. I also like what you said alot -‘The only way to stop the verbal raging is to do exactly the opposite: pick up the pencil or pen or paintbrush and keep it moving.’ that is going to stay with me. Keep on, keeping on!Thank you Laura!

    • Well ALL have the voice.
      By the way, I also try to keep in mind: “The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.”—Luther
      Sometimes, it’s best not to take the voice (or ourselves!) too seriously. 🙂

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