In the Beginning…

This post will give you an idea of how artwork can help you get through an uncomfortable time in your life.

First Notebooks

These are my first notebooks from 2011, the year when everything changed for us. I have notebooks like this from as far back as 2005 but what I noticed in looking through them is that until 2011, none of them had any drawings in them to speak of, just notes, lesson plans, to-do lists, the usual. 2011 began a new chapter in our lives, we could say it was the “Year of the Diagnosis.” Starting in May, it became the first year of drawing for me.

First Drawing
“First Drawing” May  2011

In May of 2011 we had the first endoscopy to try to find out what was wrong. I sat in a hospital room waiting for the doctor to come back in with what I hoped would be good news. While I waited I feverishly worked on this drawing. (It actually took several subsequent waiting room sessions to finish, including our trip to Stanford at the end of June.) That night in May as I drew, I tried to lose myself in the detail and the colors, to convince myself that the diagnosis would be something simple, something that could be taken care of with a mere procedure. But the doctor came back in and said, “We were hoping to find gallstones.”

endoscopic ultrasound
“Endoscopic Ultrasound” June 8, 2011

By the beginning of June I had “graduated” up to actual art sketch books instead of just spiral notebooks. On June 8, 2011 I was in a waiting room during the endoscopic ultrasound, drawing this. A lady who was waiting for her husband to have an angiogram complimented my work and it was while I was talking with her that a thought occurred to me: drawing was actually embroidery without the mess! Normally in the past I had always worked on a crochet project or some other type of needlework if I had to wait somewhere for a long time. But this was much easier because all you had to have with you was paper and some gel pens. I was on a roll.

penguin playground
Penguins’ Playground, June 8, 2011

The evening of June 8 found us in the emergency room for several hours with pain issues. While we were there I started Penguins’ Playground, which became the first of a whole collection of animal playgrounds to follow.

Hello Kitty notebooks
Notebooks from the first years.
all notebooks
These notebooks are all pretty much filled up, from 2011-2016.

In closing this post, I highly recommend drawing to anyone who wants to lessen their stress level or keep their mind on the positive things in life. Art is a refuge that I believe God brought me to and I am extremely grateful.