I started a Beginning Drawing Perception Skills this week at Pacific Northwest College of Art and wow, am I worked up! I have drawn here and there before, and have even taken a weekend drawing class but somehow I feel more ready this time. Taking a class at the local art college feels like I am making a commitment to myself to practice and to learn from someone in person whose work I admire--a mentor. Something about my teacher, Kurt Hollomon, and his passion for the quiet pursuit of drawing really reaches me. The above illustration is my instructor's ball jar drawing and below is mine from earlier this summer, pre-drawing class. I have always had a terrible lack of confidence when it came to drawing, not having been one of those "naturally talented ones" early on who get a lot of praise and then gather more confidence and go on to practice more. I am a creative person and very visually observant, but I simply haven't had the goal of practicing my drawing on a regular basis. During the past 10 years I have spent more time nurturing my visual perception abilities and have watched my mother-in-law, Peggy, grow from an absolute beginner in her early 50's to a talented portraiture artist. Her example has taught me that it's never too late to learn a skill that will bring a lifetime of enjoyment. With practice and some encouragement, anyone can learn the tricks and techniques necessary to depict an object or person more or less realistically. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, a classic book by Betty Edwards is a great place to start for simple exercises. Some of my other influences in terms of opening my eyes to the elegant beauty of drawing have been Paul Klee, Danny Gregory, who is a wonderful instructor through his books on sketching and creativity, and Egon Schiele, an Austrian artist whose expressive drawings and paintings pretty much reach the apex of human sensitivity. Even Vincent Van Gogh, an artist who nobody doubts had control over his pencil, questioned his own ability to draw. He got over that fear to produce some pretty nice work. I made another drawing today and I hope to do a new drawing three or four times a week. You can't get good at anything unless you do it at least that much, or so I have heard. I am pretty sure I won't write when I am having a hard time of it, as Kurt has promised will absolutely happen. Look for reports on my successes!