If, a year ago, someone told me that I’d be spending my Wednesday mornings sketching nudes, I’d have pleaded to mow the lawn instead. Maybe take out the trash.
I’ve never been a student behind an easel, never even stood at an easel for that matter. The mention of a charcoal pencil sent my mind into a chatter fest of excuses not to draw or, heavens, paint. I remember I trembled. And worried. How could I possibly produce something that wouldn’t be clumsy and inept?
When my first symptoms of PD grew too strong to hide, I became that frightened student again, wishing for another diagnosis the way I’d preferred to have done chores. Again, I trembled and felt clumsy and inept.
Four years later, something magical has happened. I picked up a paintbrush and it felt good. I now grin the entire time at an art store replenishing yellow ochre and stocking up on sketchpads.
Now, I stand behind the easel in class and I’m absorbed in what my eyes see and translate to my fingers. It fascinates me when I step back and discover what has emerged on the page.
More than the product – either sketch or painting – I am entirely present in each moment of the process. Fear doesn’t exist. Inadequacy is gone. For those two hours each week, I am not a person with PD. I am not tall or short or blonde or nearsighted. I’m simply there, in that room, bearing witness to what I see.
It’s no surprise that I’m no longer concerned about what might appear on the paper or what I might look like to passersby when my symptoms show, when my meds are off or a tremor sneaks into my thumb.
Art class has taught me about life. Reminds me of yoga.