At age 48, in the throes of a divorce, I’m figuring out who I am.
What I like to do.
After not investing one iota in myself for the last 20 years.
People keep telling me to do things that I enjoy.
“Have fun,” they say.
It’s awful to admit, but the concept of fun has become completely foreign to me.
In an effort to find fun and fill my craving for a creative community, I joined a sketch group. Convening mainly on weekends, we travel to different locations to meet and commit art together.
I’ve found that I feel less lonely while making art in public, so in-between meet-ups, I’ve taken to visiting local coffee shops to practice painting strangers.
In stealth mode.
Unfortunately, people often got up after only a few minutes, leaving me with an unfinished piece.
Which was unfulfilling.
I was taking too long in an effort to get it right.
I realized I had to speed up my efforts and focus on capturing the essence of an individual – his or her energy – in a quick sketch completed in just 4 or 5 minutes.
Once I stopped trying to be perfect, an interesting thing happened.
I started smiling.
Suddenly, people are approaching me. They call me “brave” for painting in public. Sharing how they used to love to knit/weave/paint/sew/make quilts … until someone told them they were terrible, and they stopped.
Sometimes people pull up chairs to sit with me and we end up talking about art, children, politics, love, divorce, grief.
And then they aren’t strangers anymore.
This morning, I went to the gym and, in addition to my mat and my sneakers and a change of clothes, I brought a backpack filled with pens and pencils, watercolors and brushes. Settled next to a cozy fireplace, I spotted a man with a strong profile, staring at an iPad.
After I finished sketching, I decided to walk over to introduce myself.
(You know, because I’m still the same dork you’ve come to know and love.)
Anyway, Taylor graciously allowed me to interview him and take his photograph. I received his permission to post his face and his likeness here on my blog.
So I’m setting a goal to complete one new sketch each day for a month. I’ll see if I want to continue after 30 days.
The most important thing?
I’m having fun again.
And I’m meeting new people.
How’d I do? What brave new thing have you tried to do recently?