Where Has My Talent Gone?

At one time I had no trouble drawing.

As a child I had an (overly) ambitious desire to be an animator for Disney and I spent a lot of time copying Disney characters from comics.  I also illustrated stories that I’d written.

I enjoyed it and was pleased with the results.

Somewhere along the way I stopped. Maybe it was when my parents moved the family from England to Australia. I don’t remember doing very much art work after that – apart from the school art classes that I didn’t enjoy. I probably wasn’t happy with the way I’d been forced to do art instead of the woodwork class I’d listed as my first preference. And we weren’t really TAUGHT art – we were left with materials and expected to get on with it by ourselves. My own efforts didn’t seem to be appreciated by the teacher.

I returned to drawing in my 20s. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was linked to homesickness because I started to draw scenes of Derbyshire in England where I’d spent my childhood. I’d use photos from magazines and books as source material. I was happy with the results and framed two or three of the drawings. Only one of them seems to survive. I found it again a few months ago – a drawing of a Norman Church in the town of Melbourne, South Derbyshire.

Another surviving drawing was a portrait of my daughter, aged around three. I framed that one and gave it to my parents. They displayed it for many years but I haven’t seen it for a long time. I’m not sure where it is anymore.

The last drawing I recall from this time was a “poster” advertising a film I’d made with my church youth group. The film based on a section of Luke’s gospel managed to incorporate Noah’s flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and “the rapture” (a dodgy theological interpretation I no longer hold).

I’m sure I still have the poster somewhere but so far have been unable to find it.

For some reason I again lost interest in drawing and it was another ten years before I picked up a pencil for artistic reasons. When I did it was to illustrate letters written to penfriends. 

They were mainly cartoon-like self-portraits depicting experiences (real and imagined) that I was describing in the letter. One I recall was a response to a female friend who had told me she would be spending Christmas in the spa pool, sipping champagne. In reply I drew myself sitting in my family’s small fishpond drinking Guinness from a bottle through a long straw.

 Now back to the present.

I want to draw again but have been disappointed with my recent attempts. Maybe my expectations are too high – after all, practice makes perfect and it’s been a long time since I practiced.

I know I have a problem with patience. I like to be able to DO things without having to learn them, without having to develop the talent through consistent and patient application.

The fact that I USED to draw may have increased the problem, as if I feel like I’ve done the work in the past and shouldn’t have to return to learning the basics again. But it seems like I can’t avoid doing that. I just need to push myself to overcome a reluctance to fail in my early attempts.


3 thoughts on “Where Has My Talent Gone?

  1. Well, the point I’m making is that not everyone is good at everything, not even in a restricted field of endeavour. A winning miler may run last in a marathon. A great Wagnerian may sound terrible singing Carmen. The Beatles may sound awful singing rap.

    Jackson Pollock’s sketches are often described as “schoolboy quality.” That’s a bit harsh, but some are really dreadful. The brilliance of his unique paintings are a complete contrast. Some artists are very colour-dependant. “Onesimus” may be one of these.

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