It’s been nearly a year and half since I’ve posted on this blog. It’s hard for me to keep up with it. But, I’ve had some thoughts rolling around in my head for a while and I thought this might actually be the best place to put them down.
It’s about how I got here.
Well, kinda. It’s a story about when I realized I could see light.
I come from an artistic family. Storytellers, painters, writers, actors and musicians. When I was in college, I decided to take an art class. Drawing 101. I figured it would come to me easily, it would be an easy A and I would enjoy it. I remember my surprise when the instructor told us that we would have a weekly assignment that he estimated would take 5-10 hours of work. At our first critique, it was clear that I was way out of my league. The other students were handing in *masterpieces* and I was turning in something I threw together the night before. I definitely felt inadequate. I tried harder the next week, but didn’t have what the other students had – maybe that was experience or talent or something else – but it was something I lacked.
My instructor was nice enough. He took pity on this floundering wanna-be-artist who had signed up for his course. He tried to make his critiques gentle.
Then one day, I walked into class and he had easels set up around a pile of boxes. The boxes were covered with sheets. On each easel was black paper and he gave us chalk. The instructions were to draw the sheets.
I immediately got it. It clicked. This was easy. My chalk drawing could have been a photograph, and if my instructor hadn’t seen me do it, he wouldn’t have believed I had. I remember him walking around, coming up behind my seat and stopping. He said, “Laura, have you worked with chalk before?” I said I had not. He said “You have an eye for the light, this is very good”
Well, that’s all my little heart needed to hear. I won “best of show” for the week. I went back to mediocrity for the rest of the drawing course. But I think I gave that random still life of a bunch of sheets to my mom as a Christmas gift (because, we never really grow out of wanting to show our art to our moms do we?)
I’d all but forgotten that moment until recently, when it surged to my active thoughts unexpectedly one day. In hindsight, it was one of the first moments that somebody else acknowledged what I kind of knew but had never voiced – that I was attracted to light in a way that is maybe a little different than some.
When I go anywhere, I see the world in light and shadows before I see what actual things are there. Light energizes me. It makes my heart race and sometimes ache. I notice the catchlights in eyes when I talk to someone, I notice the rembrandt triangle of light on a shadowed cheek when lighted from the side. I notice the highlights of stray hairs when backlit. I notice the dust in the air as it passes through a sunbeam and all of this fills me with an overwhelming urge to drop everything I’m doing and to capture it.
I have no idea how other people see light – but for me, it’s everything.