Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Fingers and Their Memory

Ink drawing of U2 from magazine cover
You did something twenty years ago with your fingers. Maybe you drew things, like me. Maybe you sewed. Maybe you loved nothing more than crocheting, knitting, using clay, making dolls, making flower arrangements or sign language.

What your fingers knew, they still know. They never forget.

Years ago in what seems like another life entirely, I was an artist. I suppose I am always an artist, since writing is a form of art and I have no problem expressing myself. But mainly I used to draw. I am a coloured pencil kind of person, primarily - I have used acrylics, oils, watercolours and other types of paint, as well as markers, oil and dry charcoals and just about every medium that was used up until 20 years ago, but then I stopped.

I tried to survive on it and killed it. I shouldn't say I killed the ability, because it is there as much as if I'd last drawn yesterday. But the desire to do it disappeared almost entirely. Every once in a while I will doodle and it becomes apparent that I have more than the average doodler's ability to draw, but it was a once in a blue Moon freaky occurrence. And quite frankly, blue Moons happened more often than my drawing or doodling.

But time is completely on my side now and I need to fill it up with something.

So I am drawing again. In some ways I'm better than ever and in some ways I am very out of practice. But I recall many of the little tricks I've known (and even use them, now!) and the muscle memory is there - like I said, as if I'd never stopped.

Coloured pencil piece
I've always known about muscle memory, but I have never really had the opportunity to try out for myself. And it is amazing. I was truly afraid the talent might not exist any longer but it is there and honed. It never left, never diminished. Even the big bump on my right middle finger is still there, built up from years of drawing and writing (I usually write letters by hand). The human body is an amazing thing if you really think about it.

So I am back to doing my original vocation: art. And while there is still plenty of room for improvement, there is a latent ability and I'm ahead of the game!

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