Art Can Break Your Heart

The dedication page of a book can be an emotional one for a writer. Especially for an author who’s also an artist. It’s the dedication page that signifies the conclusion of a book, and the reflection of all of the hard work that went behind it. It can also be a page that refers to an emotional memory.

Me and My Girl, graphite drawing by Lee Hammond

Me and My Girl (graphite on smooth bristol, 14×17) by Lee Hammond

This is a drawing I’m placing on the dedication page of my new book, which is scheduled to be released next year. While the image has little to do with the subject of Drawing the Clothed Figure, (unless you consider the back of my sweater as a reference) it holds major significance for me in my heart. I lost a dear friend during the summer of 2013, when I first started this book. Many of you, who’ve followed my career, came to know her through the pages of my other books, for she was in many of them. “Penny the Wonder Dog” was my constant companion and love of my life for almost 15 years. Losing her was like losing a piece of my soul. I cry daily.

I now place Penny on my dedication page, as a piece of history. The image depicts a life well lived, millions of great memories, and a conclusion to that chapter of my life. It’s also an indication of another book seen to fruition, and a stepping stone to the next literary adventure.

A dedication page is a bittersweet thing. Looking through my past publications, I’ve commemorated family members, friends, and the love I have experienced in my life. Not all who landed on that page now deserve that spot, but they were put there with heartfelt reasons at the time. For that, I have no regrets. A personal history is never without emotions, both good and bad. Without extreme feelings, what is there left to write about, anyway?

As artists, our artwork reflects our lives. Like a dedication page on our hearts, each piece reminds us of a place and time. Artists from the past are often judged by their work, and given false insights by their audience. I’m sure you’ve heard things such as, “they were in their ‘blue’ period of their life when they created this.” You can see the anguish of some artists as their lives were poured out upon the canvas. But nobody really knows what the artists were feeling. I guarantee that 100 years from now, people won’t have a clue about me! It’ll all be guesswork.

What memories or emotions are you depicting in your own work? Your art can be a diary of sorts, telling the tale of your life. Illustrating a journal is a good release. (North Light Books has published some great books on journaling!)

I’ve watched my children grow through my art, and have captured them forever in a framed memory. I have seen my artistic mood change and my relationships come and go through the images created with my pencil.

colored pencil flower drawing by Lee Hammond

Florida Plant (colored pencil on suede board, 11×14) by Lee Hammond

I go through phases like any artist will, where my personal artistic interests change on a whim. For instance, on some days, instead of portraits, all I want to draw are close-ups of flowers. I analyzed this trend with one of my “Zen friends,” and realized it was because I was “blooming” myself in life, and changing into someone new. I like that theory, for it’s accurate!

I urge you to let your feelings out on paper, and let your artwork reveal your soul. Don’t be afraid; that’s what art is all about: creative expression, and a glimpse into who we really are. What we create shows who we are inside. As you let your artistic spirit go, your art will blossom with you, like mine did.

Fond regards,
Lee


Lee Hammond has been called the Queen of Drawing. That may not be fair these days, since in addition to providing the best drawing lessons, she has also created fantastic books and videos filled with the same easy to follow acrylic painting techniques, colored pencil techniques and more. Click here to see all of the instructional books and DVDs that Lee Hammond has to offer!

Free download! Easy Acrylic Painting Techniques by Lee Hammond

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