Art is much more than a pretty picture framed and hanging on the wall. I love the comment that “Good art doesn’t match your couch!” That’s so true, for art goes much further than a mere decoration. Art is a statement. It tells us what to feel. It evokes something emotional for the viewer. Art is a mechanism for making us think and react to something.
Much of my own artwork says something personal about me. Anyone who knows me can see through my art how much my children mean to me. I have so many drawings of them in all stages of their lives. They’ve graced the pages of almost every book I’ve written. I never tire of capturing a memory of one of them, and reliving their childhoods. My grandkids are great too, for it gets my own children off the hook a bit, as I transfer my artistic skills to them. The drawings and paintings I do of them will be a legacy I can leave behind for them, to then, remember me.
When looking at my art you can also see my love of animals. I’ve had many pets in my life that I’ve immortalized in my artwork. The drawing shown here of my dog Brandy makes me remember coming home from high school and her waiting for me at the top of the stairs to throw her favorite tennis ball.
I also love color, and I capture the world’s beautiful colors in my floral drawings. Many of my flower drawings are done from my own bouquets given to me by special people. For some, it may be just another pretty drawing of some flowers. But when I see the art, I remember the person.
Lately, I’ve found another use for my art where memories are concerned. Like many people my age, I’m facing the heartbreaking eventuality of losing my Mom. I guess there’s a part of us all that refuses to believe it will happen until it’s right upon us. I’ve been visiting my childhood home and my Mom as much as I can lately, and find myself staring at things, as if to burn it all into my memory. I came to realize that much of the things that’ve been there my whole life will soon be gone. You simply cannot hold onto everything, and all of the keepsakes and personal items will be divided up or sold, never to be seen again. For many families, this is where things get ugly. I’ve seen so many instances where family members will fight over the silliest of things when it comes to a death in the family. An old ashtray can literally become the thing that destroys a relationship. I decided I would never allow myself to become so petty. So, I came up with a plan. Every time I made a visit home I took photos. I took a picture of every room, and every little knickknack that meant something to me. Rather than have an item that someday I wouldn’t know what to do with, I decided to create my own special memory of it in my art. After all, an item removed from its original place no longer feels the same.
The drawing of the little red vase is one of those memories. It’s one piece of a set, and I’ll draw the remaining pieces as well. The real set will go to my sister, for she collects glass. But I can have a version of them, too. When I look at this drawing, I will immediately remember home.
I love creating my memories this way. Someday as I look at these drawings in their frames, I’ll cherish the memories of those items, even if I no longer have them. Through my art, I will have them forever. No, they won’t match my couch, but they will fill my heart…
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