Friday, April 22, 2016

Earth Day 2016

The imagination and inspiration fled into the desert, and the artist followed. When life happens and your job, the one that funds your non-starving artist lifestyle, sucks up all of your free time, your creative process suffers. Not that I'm complaining. My job is the reason I live comfortably, but I went weeks without putting out any usable drawings. I wanted the ideas to come. They didn't. I spent my time hiding in books and counting the commas in other artists blogs (5 so far in this one). If I'm being fully honest, the last good thing I drew was this:

Morgan Freeman, Graphite
It was Sunday and the Oscars were airing that night. I had been thinking about Morgan Freeman since Valentines Day, which I spent drawing Penguins. Imagine, if you will, friendly reader, hearing Morgan Freeman's voice as you drew on that chilly Sunday afternoon. The penguins looking up at me from the Strathmore paper, encouraging me to keep drawing.

Emperor Penguins, Colored Pencil & Watercolor
The day after the Oscars, an hour after my alarm went off, I quickly realized that all of my free time was going to disappear for the foreseeable future. On lunch breaks and on the bus rides home, I drowned my sorrows in books. I had started reading the Dark Tower series. When Oy, an animal of King's mid-world described as a cross between a dog and a fox, appeared in the story, my creativity came back. It was only an afternoon, but it was more drawing time than I had had in weeks. A red fox is what the paper in front of me wanted, and who was I to say no?  Comma count: 19.

Red Fox, Colored Pencil & Watercolor
As I delved deeper into the Dark Tower series, I became obsessed with the path of the beam and the turtle that lived at the other end of it. It remained at the back of my mind while I was at work and visited me in my dreams. April arrived and with it the knowledge that I was going to have to come up with an idea for my annual Earth Day drawing, even as my work hours sapped my creative energy. Then I came across this in book seven, The Dark Tower:

See the turtle of enormous girth!
On his shell he holds the earth.
His thought is slow but always kind;
He holds us all within his mind.

My brain was flooded with ideas. I sketched daily, the weight of wanting to do a drawing inspired by King's writing and do it justice was gargantuan. The story is so huge, all encompassing, that I obsessed over it. How could one of my measly drawings ever do it justice? The self doubt is the worst feeling, but it flees from your mind when the right idea finally evolves into something workable. I look forward to the Earth Day drawing all year. The turtle smiled at me from the right side of my brain and I knew I was on to something. After all, Roland of Gilead and I wanted the same thing, to do our own small part in saving what remains of our world. Ka is a wheel.  Comma count: 28.

Earth Day 2016, Colored Pencil & Watercolor & Marker
My hope in doing the annual Earth Day drawing is to raise a little bit of awareness and to keep our planet, our home, fresh in peoples minds. As usual, I am donating some of the money raised from the sale of this drawing to the World Wildlife Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to conservation and fighting the effects of climate change. If you would like to know more or would like to donate directly you can visit their website at My 2016 Earth day drawing is available via

Now that I found my creative mojo again, I look forward to future adventures in Utah this summer. Hiking, camping, drawing, and taking photos. What else can a nature loving artist ask for? The imagination and inspiration fled into the desert, and the artist followed.

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