It was never meant to be seen.
A page from a sketchbook.
It should have been private. I usually keep them private.
But on impulse, I showed him. Mostly because he likes them. And they are like our pets that we coo over together. Whose antics we watch together. That we photograph together.
I usually only show him the finished products. The quick and simple sketches that are actually anything but. A sketchy style that comes from honed and practised study of the form and nature of the subject. A resulting painting that is less about the science and more about the emotional connection.
But it starts with the science. The study of the shapes, the balance, the colours. After a few studies, the muscle memory takes over creating the form and I can inject some character. That tilt of the head, that attitude, that connection. Those are the paintings he usually sees. The one’s that get people looking at my stand. The squirrels, the penguins, the puffins and robins.
But I showed him my first study of a Long Tailed Tit. They look like a feathered ping pong ball with a beak, eyes and tail. They are adorably cute.
My first studies are usually the most detailed, an unemotional look at the form and related function. They are meant to help me get to know the subject so I can work freely in my my usual sketchy style.
To say this particular study did not meet with approval was something of an understatement.
My Oh So fragile heart and ego were devastated.
That incident was 4 weeks ago. I haven’t painted since.
I simply couldn’t do it. I found a creative outlet in every other way possible but the brushes, pencils and paper have remained out of sight and mind.
It isn’t the first time I’ve been cut with words tactlessly expressed. My experience of school is littered with such incisions. I’m sure we have all felt the same.
Sometimes the casually cruel remarks can make us stop doing things we enjoy forever. I have notches on that bedpost too.
There are two lessons I’ve taken away from this.
Firstly, never show the those initial attempts to anyone, even, or maybe especially, the one who holds your heart in their hands.
The second is to treat others gently and have a care how you express your views. Be a guide and not a critic.
I will be back to painting this weekend, especially these gorgeous little fellows, just as I’m back to writing and sewing after similar experiences. It’s taken a little longer, 40 years longer, to get back to writing poetry.
All pictures are Copyright Janice Gill. Please do not use without permission.