“I didn’t paint the morning after her visit. I drew. Little caricatures, cartoon figures really. Sitting. Running. Walking. Swimming. Fast, fast, fast. No time for me to think. Skiing. Bicycling. Dancing.
“Just play, Laine had advised. So I tried to play. I worked at playing, determined to keep trying until I could play without having to work.”
When I came to this spot in Robin Black’s Life Drawing last night I had to stop reading and put the book down. Work at play?
Gus, a middle-aged artist who’s dealing with her father’s dementia and the fallout from her own infidelity, finds comfort in her painting. Everything she paints, the chairs, the walls, every brick, is alive — everything except the people. She even says she thinks she might be missing the “life-drawing gene.”
She’s become cautious since her days of “preaching the virtues of risk and of failure…” She says that mistakes have “lost their appeal.”
Like Gus, I’ve known that cautious feeling. I too have “preached the virtues of risk and failure” on my blogs and to my students.
Every day I see that I am one of those who has to “work at play.” But I know that when I finally get to play without work, that’s when the work will come alive.
Now I will savor the rest of Life Drawing as I feel a kindred spirit in Gus, and a true appreciation for the author, Robin Black, who brings these characters, with their real-life issues alive on the page.
I’m looking for inspirational women! Do you know anyone who incorporates play into their life? Someone who has a 9 to 5 job or family obligations… but still finds time to incorporate creative play into their life? Please email me at catherine (at) gmail (dot) com.