When Words Fail, Drawing Prevails
Story and artwork from Julie Barnhill
For just over twenty-one years of my fifty-four years of life, I earned a professional living with the art of words: public speaking, one-on-one mentoring, retreat hosting, and writing for publication. Words served me well: eleven book titles opening avenues as a keynote speaker (e.g. China, Europe, South Africa) and a media guest on the likes of “Oprah” “CNN” and radio broadcasts.
Then, the words sort of stopped. I had nothing to say; nothing to add to what had already been written or spoken. So I called it a sabbatical and went about my life outside of “being an Author and Speaker”. I missed creating. Missed the challenge of producing something out of nothing.
But the words just didn’t want to write.
“I need to paint.” That’s what I knew to be true with a creative surety long-forgotten. I knew/know “thismuch” about painting watercolor, but I watched some YouTube tutorials and found that I loved the distraction painting afforded. I tried charcoal. Graphite pencil sketching. About that time, a professional artist friend of mine wrote a message: “Julie, I think you need to look into oil painting as that medium will allow your spirit and personality to pop–you like drama (colors)–oils will give you that drama.” Cue loads of online purchasing (paints, brushes, canvases, paper, mediums).
As I noted before, my actual hands-on, educational, how-to knowledge when it comes to art via drawing and painting is limited. Proportions are challenging and probably take me 10x’s longer to figure out than others. But, I’m tenacious, so those lines and curves eventually fall into a pleasing place.
I want to learn how to create stunning portraitures. I want to learn—better stated, I want to understand the basic rules for portraiture: dimension and placement of eyes, brows, etc. I want to learn how to correctly mix flesh tones and to understand shadow—Value.
Drawing Academy is new to my bookmarked web pages. I was initially drawn (no pun intended) to the site as the video clip I watched highlighted The Old Masters and the pigments they used. Those are the tones, colors, and value, (I think those are the correct terms) to which I am drawn as an appreciator of art and an artist learning how to create such.
Winning the Drawing Academy course will enable me to do a deep dive with Masters in their own right and expand upon the admittedly small base of knowledge that I currently hold regarding the subject. One is never too old (see, also, Grandma Moses) to learn and become something they were not. I’d like to believe a vote for me is a vote for every Artist-in-Residence awakened during these strange times.