Gwen Diehn doesn't know me from a hill of beans, and I don't know about her personal life, (she has a son and a cat,) but I've been an admirer of hers since I found her "The Decorated Page" at our local bookshop in 2002. This was in the days when I was still exploring how to "be a weaver", crawling out of my should-have-been-an-academic mindset and looking for the right door to hippie/artist/artisan/that-other-life-dom. It may have been around the time I dedicated three months to every task in "The Artist's Way".
I remember being somewhat surprised, (perhaps unfairly,) an art book had arrived at Nelson so soon after publication. I felt I was meant to have it. By the time I learned "The Decorated Journal" came out, it was a no brainer. This one even included detailed instructions on how to make our own books, a craft I marveled at and imitated since kid-hood.
I could never get enough of the beautiful drawings, the astonishment of seeing, (I had an inkling artist kept them,) beautiful notebooks/sketchbooks filled with not only drawings and mini paintings, but notes, tickets, maps, stuff, etc. The examples of travel journals still take my breath away. I learned "journals" had a specific meaning in a hitherto unknown context. And I gazed and gazed at the process pics of how-to pages but I never got my hands dirty.
It was and is drawings that fascinates me, that making of shapes that remind me of "things". Of the many skills I envy in others, drawing easily, often, or without pain and anguish is among the top on my list. (Also true: I have no idea if the makers suffer in silence.) It's something I wish I could/would do more light-heatedly. For pleasure. If not of doing, then of having done it. I manage sometimes, but even a project like copying a Matisse portrait in a really tiny, quick, line or gesture drawing can be onerous. When you grow up with parents who nonchalantly repeated, "we are not people who draw or paint," as if this is OK, and still, "If you're going to do something, do it right,"... well, no wonder I carried an emotional boulder.
A few years later I mustered the courage and took a short screen printing course locally, because I was good at prints in school. And because I loved the teacher so much, (still do prints with her when I can,) I took a mixed media drawing course with her without knowing what mixed media was, but I still did OK. Although... I swear everybody else had drawn/painted all day every day of their long lives, this was a short course and we were busy experimenting, so bad shapes didn't interfere. Finally, after a few low-enrollment cancellations and bureaucratic disappointments, I bit the bullet and signed up for a figure/life drawing class, which I thoroughly enjoyed for 6? or 8? years, culminating in a small exhibition with two classmates who were far more serious about it.
I've done a few other things since, learned some skills, bought, tried and even used up new materials. I know I prefer old fashioned material like pencils, watercolor, (still have no idea how to use it "properly",) charcoal, collage and woodblock prints. I still admire well-made shapes. I'd like to be that person who draws a little, not just gaze and appreciate, I'm only 62. Early days.
Lest you think this is going to be another one of woe-is-me-I'm-so-un-good post, there's a postscript. From time to time I look up artists' Pages on Facebook for my daily dose of eye-candy. I can't remember the specifics but I probably couldn't find Gwen's page and audaciously friend-requested. And well, politics has been stupid, the year has been weird, and social media has its own protocols, and as I was adding yet another raucous comment on her post yesterday, I realized, she doesn't know me from...