The light hits the model’s back and highlights his bronze skin and sinewy muscles. He balances precariously on one foot and stretches his arms upward. After a minute, the timer buzzes and he changes the pose. I flip to a new page in my newsprint tablet and quickly sketch.
I’m a writer, yet I’ve begun drawing again, which cross trains the creative centers in my brain. Most writers I know do other things. Some are daredevils who climb mountains, others play baseball, and some are musicians. Many regard writing as a ‘hobby,’ but for those of us whose job it is to write, we find other outlets.
I don't like the term hobby. It implies something of little importance, a lightweight activity to do in one’s spare time, an accessory, something expendable. An activity which captures one’s focus and critical thinking is not lightweight. Earning an income is necessary for paying the bills, but pursuing activities that engage one’s creative centers are crucial for survival. That engagement in rock climbing, bicycling, drawing, or fantasy football will manifest itself in other ways. Overall, pursuing a variety of interests makes one a more fully educated person.
Schools across the country made a huge mistake by eliminating “shop” and ‘home ec’ classes, and art, music and drama are facing the same fate. I’m glad I received a ‘renaissance’ education where learners were exposed to multiple sectors. By the time I was in high school I knew that while I was lousy in math, could sing well enough to be in choir, and afraid of shop tool, I was good in art, reading and writing. While the law forced me to stay in school, Art and English classes gave me motivation to accept the rest.
Algebra was a foreign language, yet my artist’s eye helped me understand basic trigonometry. Studying art history opened the door to knowledge of history in general. If you want to understand a culture or time period, study its art, music and literature.
I hadn't mean for this blog post to become a soap box rant on the state of education. I just wanted to share a few sketches and discuss how visual art helps inform my writing. If any of you writers out there feel “blocked,” get out from behind the keyboard and climb a mountain or sing your ass off.
Happy spelunking, driving, surfing, swimming, climbing, bowling.... and writing.