Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Start Now

9/17/16 colored pencils
Five years ago today, Sept. 21, 2011, I started sketching.

Twenty-eleven was a year of big changes. In May I had eye surgery that enabled me to see without correction for the first time since third grade. In November I cut my waist-length hair (I’d worn it long for decades) to the length it is now and simultaneously quit coloring – at last, liberation from the shackles of my tresses! But the biggest change of all was that my only sister died at the age of 65 – only one month after she had retired.

Nearly 13 years older than I, Linda was practically a second mom to me when I was growing up. She had always been supportive of my creative endeavors. Even when my childhood drawings mocked her, she laughed and seemed to appreciate my humor. In my 40s when I ventured into jewelry making, she always proudly wore my creations. Strangers who happened to compliment a necklace or bracelet inevitably got the full story about how I had made those pieces for her. She was my biggest fan. It makes me sad that she never saw my sketches.

I don’t know if her death in April directly affected my commitment to sketching and learning to draw later that same year. I do know, however, that after she died, I gave a lot of thought to not putting things off. “After retirement,” “after the home repairs are done,” “after the kids are grown and I have more time” – a lot of people put off things that are important to them until after. If it’s really important, then a good time to start is now.

(Once a year on my sketching anniversary, I write a retrospective post. You can read the previous years’ posts here: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012.)

Linda and me (circa 1959)


  1. Lovely - there is always so much more to people than what you know (especially is you only know one part of their life as part of the sketching world). She sounds like a very special to sister to you, and I am sure you were to her.

  2. It was the end of September of 2011 that I read Everyday Matters by Danny Gregory. It rang true as I had dealt with the 'big C' that summer and Danny gave me the idea of sketching as a process rather than creation of a product. My life changed and like you, sketching is an ever-present part of my life. Congrats on your first five years as a sketcher.

    1. Larry, I remember from the Sketching Forum days that we both started sketching around the same time. So congrats to you, too -- here's to the next 5, 10 and many more years as sketchers!

  3. I knew that 2011 was when you started sketching but I didn't know about your sister. How great that she was so supportive of what you did...but sad that she is gone. She must have been very special. I'm glad you learned not to put things off. It is an important idea to follow.

    I lost one of my sisters too. She was my best friend and only 55 when she died from ALS. I learned that same lesson from her death. If there is something I really want to do, I try to find a way to do it. She was that way after her diagnosis and made sure her family had lots of special memories while she was well enough to do things. You and I seem to have special sisters in common.

    Happy Sketching Anniversary!!!

    1. Thank you, Joan! I remember that you had lost a sister too, but I didn't realize she was so young. If losing someone teaches us to not put things off, then that's a really loving gift they leave us with.


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