I am learning to draw.
This involves a Saturday morning in the local community centre in the company of a number of women from the area.
We are going to go out into the countryside around and draw some local monuments.
I really don’t care what we draw as long as I can have 2 uninterrupted hours of a break from mothering.
There is going to be an exhibition at the end of our work. I’m not fazed. If I turn out to be completely unskilled and unable to produce any work resembling the local monuments, I can blame it on sleep deprivation.
First, we must draw some stones.
I choose a deep black stone setting the smooth long edge to face me. I gaze at it,admiring the grooves, the waves giving character to its top face, the sharp edge on it’s left side. I will render the beauty of this stone onto paper and all will appreciate its form.
I draw a sort of black slug
Kiera, the artist teaches me to draw what I see rather than what I know is there, and to measure distances between points on the stone to translate that into marks on paper.
I draw something resembling a black stone.
For an hour, I stare and I draw a black stone. I am completely absorbed in the stone, it’s edges and contours turning it into a familiar friend. I have never looked at a stone for so long. It’s beautiful, this stone.
It’s interesting what this gazing, this drawing brings out. Someone beside me says
WHAT exactly are you doing here? All of these people are better at drawing than you are.
If you haven’t learned already, at your age, then you probably have zero talent for it.
My inner critic. Hello Mabel. What are you doing here? (Of course she’s here, it’s as hard to get away from here as it is to go the bathroom on my own at home)
I’m bored. This is boring. Isn’t there something better you could be doing with your time?
Ah Mabel. You’re no craic. Have a seat. We are not going anywhere.
Except we are- out into a field to draw monuments. Next Saturday, and the one after that, and the one after that again.