Already 9 o’clock, and this morning is getting away from me. Too many household chores have delayed my special time, when finally I tie on my stained apron, open my box of pastel chalks, and set up my tabletop easel.
Drawing with soft pastels is new territory for me. Unfamiliar. Why at this moment in my life do I feel it pulling me into its world? Its seduction is undeniable, persistent, though. These days I am happiest when I am working away at it, oblivious to sounds outside this room.
I can still see Miss Peuschel with her flaming red hair, making her way around her classroom of us ninth graders, murmuring encouragement to her art students, stopping at my desk. She looked at my drawing, an amateurish copy of a Baltimore Sun photograph of a stretch of sand on the shore of Chesapeake Bay.
Here, try this, she said, reaching for a large sheet of textured paper, handing me a stick of charcoal. See if you can draw this same scene again with these tools. Gently she guided my arm in sweeping motions. Use your whole arm, she said, and your wrist. Forget about your fingers. I looked down at them, already blackened from the charcoal dust.
You have talent, she told me. A good eye. Use it.
That was seven decades ago. I didn’t return to such pursuits until my 40s, when I took up painting — city scenes and abstracts mainly — with acrylics, sometimes on scraps of wood discarded at construction sites, other times canvas.
Then life intervened with its demanding busyness. Family, college, work, travel. Until last month, when this urge to create returned, insisting.
The moment I complete this blog post, I will joyfully tie on that apron and get started on a new picture. Right now.
What a blessing. What a joy.