It started as a simple colored pencil demo on how to make shiny, brightly colored items. Jelly beans seemed the perfect subject, so I started the drawing, just for fun, and just for a demo piece. I never expected it to amount to much, other than a good lesson on colored pencil. In my mind it was already relegated to my file of unfinished pieces, waiting for the next group of colored pencil enthusiasts to take in a demonstration.
But as I added color to each little jelly bean, I found myself having fun. I was smiling with each highlight I burnished in and every new color I added. Every shadow became a challenge, and every jelly bean became its own project. The drawing was compelling me to go further with it.
Lately, I’ve been having a challenging time in my personal life. It was one of those dreaded phases where everything seemed to be unraveling all at once. We all go through it. Life can certainly test us. My question is, what do people who aren’t creative do at times like these? I ask, because when times get rough, it’s always my art that pulls me through. It’s where I self-sooth and find joy. Every time I worked on the jelly bean drawing, I found my mood improving. It was truly the gift of art therapy in full swing. I looked forward to every moment I could work on it again.
As the drawing progressed, I bonded with it. I no longer wanted to put it in my never-ending pile of half-finished drawings that I use to teach with. It felt special. But, what in the world would I do with it?
I continued to work on it and it began taking on a life of its own. I started the slow process of layering color into the background. It was turning into a brilliantly colored, happy drawing. Then it dawned on me–I would share this drawing as a gift to someone! The joy I felt was in the process of creating it. I knew after all of my years of being an artist, that once it was done it would become “just another drawing” in my house or studio; a drawing I would hardly look at again.
I looked at the colors, and I instantly knew who who love it. My granddaughter, Cayla! She loves art, she loves bright colors, and she loves jelly beans. With her 9th birthday approaching, I came up with a plan. I would personalize it, and make it special just for her.
Now, my happy little drawing will live on forever with Cayla. Hopefully it will be something that she holds on to well into adulthood, and she will tell her kids stories about her crazy artist grandma and how we always colored together. Hopefully, I will do the same with her kids, since I’m a young grandma, and fully expect to live long enough to see my great-grandkids grow up, too!
Art is a gift– to the artist who creates it, the people who get to see it, and most of all, to the people we choose to give it to. I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have a stockpile of art, and a wealth of family and friends with which to share it!
I’ll show off a photo of Cayla when she receives this on her birthday, so stay tuned to my page on Facebook.
Have a great week!
Edited by Cherie Haas, online editor of ArtistsNetwork.com
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