I have been drawing since the day I knew how. In the beginning it was admittedly only princesses and princess crowns I drew. I loved it even then. I drew them with long dresses with all kinds of girly colors and they had large crowns with diamonds and long hair. I remember so well how I saw Disney’s princess movies over and over again, and how I wished I could draw such beautiful princesses. It seemed impossible to me. But I had my mind set.
When I went to school, I said to my mom (after a few years of Batman bindings and princess bindings) that I wanted brown paper as bindings for my books. I wanted to draw my own illustrations. And I switched out my pink pencil case with princesses on with a pencil case in leather as I could scribble on it. I suppose it was a lot of hours at school I spent on drawing instead of paying attention to my teacher.
When I was 12 years old I experienced something that made my stop. I suddenly did poorly on most levels in life. Except creatively. I consumed my self with my drawings. I shut myself into my room right after school and drew well into the evening. The old desire to draw the princesses from Disney had evolved and blossomed into an obsession. I just had to be able to draw realistic people. So I scrutinized all the fashion magazines and gossip magazines and tore out page after page. I studied the faces, facial features, shadows and highlights, color of skin, hair. I sat in my room for 3 years before I was able to go out again.
When I finally lied down my pencil it took years before I could pick it up again. The focus was completely gone. My innermost thoughts and feelings were an infinite chaos. I had no inner peace. It went almost 11 years. Through those years I had been through major upheavals and betrayal in my life. More than what an average person should experience at that young age. Most were of the most painful kind. I was undoubtedly quite destroyed. But in spite I had one special someone that unconsciously built me up again, my son. I got him at age 19. And in many ways we grew up together. It was just the two of us for many years. Casper and mom. I studied multimedia design and had a little cautious dream of becoming a graphic designer.
When I was 24 years old, the previous 12 years of my life came for me and hit me right in the face. I finally met the bottom. It was destined to happen. I did not get up again for a long long time. I could not work. I could not study. I was back to where I was when I was 12 years old. Unconsciously, I did the same as I did then. I started drawing. From the moment I got up until I went to bed I drew.
My obsession was back. So far I had only drawn and I was so hungry to learn more! So I trawled the Internet, like I had previously done with fashion magazines, for watercolor paintings. I bought watercolors and did all I could think of to teach myself the skill. Once again it became my therapy. My thoughts were consumed by what I could create of my own imagination. At last I found myself.
It’s no secret that only a few have been able to live of their art. You should preferably die poor before anyone shows an interest in your art. If you were to learn from the older great artists. So even though I dreamed big about being able to live of my own scribbling I had to grow up and realize that my paintings would not hold my child fed. I had to get a job like everyone else. So after 2 years in bliss with my head deep down in my paintings and drawings, I started working again. It was a bittersweet feeling! For the first time in my life I had a good steady income. I did not have to worry about money all the time. But it was so painful to close the door to my office where I for two years had spent thousands of hours creating. For that was what I had to do eventually, physically close the door, to be able to go to work. I had to rehabilitate myself. Try to shake off my obsession. Just be like everyone else, completely satisfied with an ordinary 8-16 job.
I know now, two years after, that I was born to do this. I’ve really got to know the famous “creative urge.” An overwhelming drive pulling me toward my office all the time. An inner voice that cries out that I’m in the wrong place in life. That I’m wasting my time on my “8-16 job”. That I need to run to my desk and get all the ideas that are buzzing around in my head down on a piece of paper. I felt like I was going to burst. I was constantly in a bad mood without quite knowing why. Just simply so deeply unhappy. Felt like heartbreak. Dramatic, right? I know.. But it felt that way, and it was absolutely terrible.
After a few years as an “8-16” worker I have learned to compromise without completely giving up on my obsession. It had to, because I need both in my life. And to be honest, I could not bear to be at work every day and hate my job simultaneously. That is no way to live. It’s not fair to my colleagues or myself. So I started to take my sketchbook with me to work. I am now the fool who sits with music on my ears (for silence) in deep concentration. By all means, DO NOT talk to me. But it works! 30 minutes in my own world, and I’m ready for the rest of the workday.
I make sure that I have small “projects” and ideas that can be drawn from the cozy corner in my sofa or during my lunch break. My sketchbooks are brilliant for this particular necessity. Because I have to feel that I have completed some projects in a timely manner. I have tons of unfinished paintings and drawings lying around, and that usually drives me crazy. I’ve got to finish something in between to feed that sense of empowerment.
Since I work every other weekend I have an extra day off from work after the weekend I’m not working. Therefore, I make sure that I have done all that uninteresting things (housework, hair cut, appointments etc.) before that delicious long weekend comes, so I can use all the time available to draw and paint.
So in short, I have a HOLY art schedule. And it is not to be messed with. For this is not just a hobby to me. It is my life, my obsession, and my therapy.