Whenever I am asked to comment on my relationship with Art, what it means to me, I always think back to a moment in time when my mentor and art instructor Rodman de la Cruz asked the class, “What does the word draw mean?” This simple question sparked the realization which brought together several aspects of my life that I had not seen as related. The first thing I thought of was my father on his pulpit drawing glass. Let me explain. My father was an entrepreneur, a machine designer and an expert in manufacturing industrial glass used in the electronics business. When I was a small child my Dad’s company was in our home, with all the machinery and furnaces in the garage, where he would make glass diodes. First he would make the glass itself, forming it into a three foot hollow tube about four or five inches in diameter. For the next step he needed a lot of vertical space. To accomplish this he had cut a large square out of the cement slab of the garage and dug down several feet. There he had built what my Mom called his pulpit, a strong scaffolding that brought him up another eight or so feet. This is where the drawing came in to play. When he brought the long glass tube up to the top of the pulpit and heated the glass at the base of the tube as the glass became more fluid it would draw down; the large tube would become thin and narrow making the product he was after. As a small child I was in awe of the whole process.
Rodman’s question lead me to wonder, “How was this drawing related to my drawing? What was my Dad doing that I was?” Wham, it hit me, “Pulling out of!” were the words that flew out of my mouth in response to Rodman’s question. My world stood still as I reeled with this epiphany. Drawing is my observation of the world coming out of me. Drawing out of me.
Later that same class I had a second epiphany, this time the catalyst was my mother’s down home sense of humor. As child I would be restless and look around for something to do. Drawing was always a good activity to turn to, so I would go to my Mom for inspiration and ask her what should I draw? Often her answer would be “Draw flies”. As a child I thought my Mom was being silly. Flies were so small and the detail was hard to see. I could draw a fly as a little scribble and be done with it, what fun was that? Again, Rodman’s question niggled at my mind and then it hit me hard, making me feel dim witted; my Mom’s sense of humor was dryer than I had realized. Drawing is also what I pull to me as well as what is drawn out of me. Drawn to me, drawn through me and drawn out of me. Drawing is the inspiration and expression of my life.
This realization has helped me to understand why making art is such a integral part of my being. Drawing, painting and making art bring me into the world, help me understand my surroundings and interactions and give me the ability to respond and express my being. I have used my art work as a tool for learning, and as a way to understand my conscious self and subconscious self and to heal some of the rifts between the two. I make art for the sheer pleasure it gives me. I make art because it’s what I must do for my soul.
As I learn and grow my art reflects the changes and experiences I am going through. I am deeply grateful to share my art and so share my life.
© 2009 Raina Colvin. All rights reserved.