“I have learned that what I have not drawn I have never really seen, and that when I start drawing an ordinary thing, I realize how extraordinary it is, sheer miracle. ” ~Frederick Franck, The Zen of Seeing.
Today I decided to dust off the ol’ charcoal while waiting for my son’s bus. I put a pear down on the table for an easy little still-life.
I learned how to use charcoal in a drawing class I took in college. The first few weeks of using the messy medium was incredibly frustrating. Using only pencil until that point made me confused on how to really manipulate the lines, work with the shading and not make a complete and total mess of everything.
I knew how to shade with the pencil. I knew how get that perfect line.
I hated charcoal and just wanted to give up but had to keep trying for the grade.
Eventually I found the curves were so much better and the deep shadows were so much richer than a pencil could ever be.
Looking back, I’m not sure why it was such a thorn in my side at the beginning. I learned to love it by the end of the semester. It was so much easier than the pencil… so much more fluid. The harshness of the pencil seemed so rigid when I tried to go back.
The experience always pops into my head when I’m being challenged by something. Stretch ’til it hurts. Bend ’til you almost break. Don’t give up even when you want to. Pretty soon you’ll look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.