My love affair with art


I once fell in love.

I fell in love, not with another person, but rather with the mere craving of possibility. Characterized by naivety and infatuation, I was drawn in by the fresh breath and freedom encompassed within the empty white papers that sat on the second shelf of my mother’s desk.

I was young and without a necessary, set path for me to follow. Floating aimlessly among the banal atmosphere, I found that the blank white pages caused an unexpected fervor to grow inside of me.

This slight fire, although I didn’t know it at the time, would eventually grow large enough to consume me.

This slight fire, although blinding, is how I fell in love with creating art.

In the beginning, it was simple. An easy handshake with a number two pencil. A quiet hello to color. It was nothing extreme, nothing close to the gravity it would eventually have on my life.

Soon, the empty pages filled with dainty sketches of flowers and imprecise cartoons. Looking back, my drawings were clumsy and laced with misfortune; however, I continued anyway. Blinded by the excitement and simple joy that occurred whenever my hand held a pencil, I continued drawing despite the result of subpar creations.

I call these moments of innocent bliss my honeymoon stage. I held not a single care in the world concerning whether or not I held an aptitude for creating art. The more I continued, the more I fell in love.

I fell in love with the possibility each empty page held. I fell in love with the way the colors blended together. I fell in love with my simple flowers, my synthetic eraser, and all of the grays a pencil could possibly shade.

At the time, my eleven-year-old self most likely viewed the moments spent behind a pencil as an easy way to waste an afternoon or a mean to preoccupy oneself during math class. However, the pure elation and wonder that trickled through my bloodstream with each line drawn spoke a different story.

With time, my simple sketches evolved. I dabbled with different approaches to shading and coloring, and, as a result, my drawings were able to hold a greater depth. My level of skill transitioned from beginner to intermediate, but I wanted more.

My drawings improved, yet it was never enough. I craved vibrancy. I preferred richness over the dull drawings that I could compose.

Now, it was no longer as simple as it used to be, and I became fixated on doing more, creating more. However, I struggled to achieve this, and the relationship between my drawings and I turned stale.

I progressed forward, and my compulsion to improve transformed my love into more of an unhealthy obsession. I’d spend hours behind a pencil, and even when my drawings yielded a good result, I scrapped it because it was never good enough. I left simple flowers for the realisticity of the human, but more times than not, I remained frustrated.

My art turned its back on me as I grew in age. Static, I was left in the cold. I no longer felt my blood rush with the touch of my pencil. The love I once felt dissipated.

I continued anyway, pushing my hand to do better as I watched the paper roll its eyes at me, telling me I could never do it justice. Despite my lack of affection, my drawings continued to improve. The difference was that, now, they consisted of lies. My drawings no longer held the sincerity and honesty that they used to, even if they did become more advanced.

Over the next few years, my pencils sat in my desk drawer more often than not. My eraser never saw the light of day more than once a month, and the colors could no longer breathe.

I couldn’t let go, and to continue my love, I had to forgive myself and try again.

With nowhere to go, I replaced my pencil with a paintbrush, and I soon realized that the further one advances in a relationship, the more effort it required. Thus, I gave more effort.

I soon realized that the act of painting possessed a greater freedom that I had not experienced with drawing. It brought me closer to where I started, closer to enjoyment again. I branched away from realistic painting, and I experimented with blue people and lamps and suits. I felt lighter, freer.

Canvas after canvas sat on top of each other in my room, each partially painted, and most of them did not make sense. But, I realized that it’s okay for it to not make sense.

My relationship with art is confusing and chaotic, and my work will reflect that.

Occasionally, days will come where my hands reach for a pencil or a paintbrush, and the joy will return. The pencil will shake my hand again, greeting me like an old friend.

On days like this, I am reminded that art will never leave me. It is a part of me now.

We need each other, art and I, for my art means nothing without the colors that I create; my colors could never survive without the shelter that art gives it. Despite its destructiveness, it is my home.

When I am isolated from it, I will forever continue to love the possibility of creation, even if I struggle to remain in love with it.