"All Growned Up" 24" x 48" ink on wood
"Dolphin" 24" x 36" ink on wood
"Donkey" 24" x 36" ink on wood
I remember when I got into grad school one of my undergrad professors laughed at me when I asked him if he had enough time to make his own artwork. He told me that people didn't seem to understand exactly what sort of time and effort went into teaching and he wished me luck in finding my own creative time.
I found myself looking toward the winter break with anticipation. Not for gifts, but for time to work. I knew that Blue would be out of school for the same 2 weeks I'd be out and that would mean I would have dad-duty. At 5 years old this meant that trying to work for the majority of the day - uninterrupted - in the basement studio would be impossible. This meant no sculpting time for me. I'm selfish enough that I could still probably have cleared the time at night or arranged for him to spend some quality time with the grandparents, but avoiding the family during Christmas felt a bit odd. I knew I had a wood panel prepared for drawing, so that became my creative plan.
This is where the juggling act began.
There were gifts to be bought, parties to attend, and Christmas movies to be watched over the winter break. But then there was the long list of things that needed to be done to the house....those things I've been putting off since August. And when a 5 year old is home from school on his first ever Christmas break he needs to be entertained. TV rots your brain and I'm pretty sure Nickelodeon computer games do too so there was only so much of that I wanted to let him do.
And knowing all that ahead of time, I still thought making a few drawings would be a cakewalk.
A couple of days during that first week I was able to steal away into the next room and work on laying out the first composition. If I got 15 minutes at a time I was lucky. After errands, making lunch, preparing everything for the spring semester classes and a couple of short driving trips the afternoons were gone and it was time for the other half of the family to arrive home. Blue and I would try to have supper ready but then there were 2 kids to play with. Kids who were teetering on the edge of supreme excitement every moment of every day. They would locate the hidden elf, jump into the Christmas tree and chase me around the house. Then it was time to watch a Christmas show. They'd pick one and we'd see how long we could stretch those little attention spans. I realize this represents an hour or so I could have been drawing, but I have a responsibility to make sure my children grow up with the proper respect for The Grinch, Charlie Brown, Jimmy Stewart, Little Ralphie and Chevy Chase. After the show it was bed time and after 30 minutes of getting them prepared to actually get in the bed, there was another 30 minutes to an hour of making sure they stayed in the bed and went to sleep. By this time it was 10:00 pm or later. (If that sounds late for a kid bed time, pretend that I said 9:00. Or 8:00.)
And then it would happen.
A Christmas miracle.
I would get to draw from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am.
Eventually the hours added up enough and with the help of a couple of days this last week - I was able to finish those three drawings. And now, just moments ago, I found out that my wife hates the last two of them. She said they were very disturbing and she made a terrible face at me. They are disturbing, but I still find them amusing.