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9th Annual Art-a-Day Challenge, January 2018!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

First post to Art-A-Day

Hi there - I promise this will be the only lengthy blurb to accompany anything I post, but I wanted to share how finding this site has made such a difference to me (and my family) this month.

I haven't drawn regularly since my early 20s (20 years ago), but I started again this Christmas, as i wanted to draw alongside my kind and creative 75 yr old Dad, who is recovering from a major left-side brain haemorrhage that happened in September. He lived through just 10-20%% odds, and thankfully can still walk and talk, but he has major executive/cognitive damage, so he can't/won't initiatiate any conversations or activities.

I remembered Dad was great at drawing when I was a kid, (but rarely found the time and was very modest about his ability). Over Christmas, I tried to find some kind of drawing inspiration for him, and on Google, I found a Jim Bumgarner post from this site, with the 'Everyday Matters' challenge list, and everyone's daily posts showing so many varied and different types of art. I also found the Betty Edward's book 'Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain' which I knew would complement his cognitive treatment. I showed him the site and the book and asked if he'd draw something with me, as I thought it might help him with his recovery. His eyes lit up, and we drew 4 'projects' from the book together over Christmas/New Year week. His first copy drawing is below (his on the right):

Since then he's found a focus, and drawing has become the main thing he initiates himself. He draws a few hours everyday, copies and still-life, and shows both tremendous pride and constructive criticism in his output. His Neuro-Consultant has been amazed by both his enthusiasm and focus, and says it will now form a major part of his new in-patient rehab program. Dad has maybe 6-8 more months in a Neuro-Rehab Unit before hopefully being allowed home with my Mum full-time.

When I left after Christmas/NY, Dad asked if I'd 'draw with him', even though we're now 4,000 miles apart (me in Chicago, Mum & Dad near London, UK). I promised I would draw everyday if I could.

So... with this slightly overlong intro, thanks to all the contributors to this site, as you provided this inspiration to find a) a window into one part of Dad's new existence - the one element that he truly has embraced, and b) a focus for what I hope will be my daily promise to try to create some art every day. Because if my Dad can do it, so can I.

My first drawing is below. I started it the day Dad did the drawing above, left it for 2 weeks, and finished it last night. Dad's art will remain private as it's part of his recovery, but I'm hoping to learn from everyone here, and show I'm right there with him in drawing every day.

Thanks for your patience re my first post.



BobiWilson said...

Shelly, what an exquisite story, what a gift. Thank you and Welcome to Art-a-Day!!! Yay, Jim! our best ambassador.

Anonymous said...

wow...goose bumps here Shelly. How amazing and inspirational the both of you are. I look forward to seeing your posts and hearing about your fathers recovery.

Terrie said...

You have such a heart warming story and we all wish the best for your dad. How exciting to have art be the thing he's able to return to and that it's something you can so easily share. Welcome to the group and can't wait to see more of your drawings.

Jim Bumgarner said...

Shelley, I knew there had to be a reason why I decided to share with everyone here about the "EDM Challenges," and now I know it was worth it beyond anything I could have imagined!
Thank you for sharing this with your Dad, and with us.

Great hand! Looks like some things just "run in the family," right? You might want to look into Danny Gregory's book, "Everyday Matters," it's about how drawing got him through his wife being tragically maimed when she fell off a subway platform in NYC. It changed my entire focus on art.

Please keep us posted on your work and how your Dad is progressing.

Laura Gable said...

What a testament to the healing power of art. Thank you for your sweet and inspirational story. And Jim, the book you are referencing sounds like a wonderfully inspiring story as well. These people live though such deep life changing experiences, then enrich the rest of the world with their means to survival.

Shelley said...

Thanks so much to you all for your kind words - my sister visited my Dad today and said he's working on another copy drawing that he seems incredibly proud of - so he really does seem to be drawing every day now. I was hoping it would give him a focus, but never imagined it would become such an important part of his healing quite so quickly. I'll keep you updated.

Jim - I'd actually heard of EDM and bought the book last year, but procrastination befell me, and it wasn't until I saw your post at Christmas that I resolved to revisit both the book and my art, and try to produce something each day. You're quite right about how inspirational Danny Gregory's story is, especially in making you realise there can be so much art and beauty in small things and simple observations. I've realised the important just to start... Thanks again to you all.