Why is it so hard to fit everything in?

I love to draw. I’m not particularly good at it, but I really do love to do it. When I get into a regular schedule of making a drawing each day, even a fast sketch, I find that I see everything differently–and probably better. Just the act of seeing what things actually look like, rather than what my adult brain thinks they look like, is almost like a meditation. Perhaps it is closer to the way a child or infant looks a the world, without all the bias and preconception that we learn as we mature.

Sketch of The Thinker I made while visiting the Rodin Museum in Paris a few years ago.
Sketch of The Thinker I made while visiting the Rodin Museum in Paris a few years ago.

Then why do I draw so infrequently! I could easily (and pretty honestly) say that it is a lack of time. With time for my family and health, a more-than-full-time job, and my leather shop, there often is not enough time left over to even read a novel (which I also love, but it takes second place to drawing…). However, I must admit that even when I’m quite busy, I always seem to have some time to waste doing stupid things on my iPad (which is way behind drawing and reading on my personal enjoyment and satisfaction scale). The internet and e-toys are wonderful things but huge time-wasters that are dangerously addictive.

I’ve been able to spend a little time drawing over the past month, because I broke my collarbone in a (stupid and avoidable) bicycle accident. I can’t do any useful leatherwork for another several weeks, but I have started to sketch a bit again. I really go nuts without some creative outlet, and drawing is one of the few things I can do comfortably.

Color pencil sketch today while recovering from my broken collarbone...
Color pencil sketch today while recovering from my broken collarbone…

Followers of this blog will know that one of my long-term goals is to trace my pathway from shoe repairman to saddle maker to scientist. After 2-3 years of working in a saddle shop in Santa Fe, I then got a job as a caretaker on a ranch. After we had our first daughter, I realized that I wanted something more in life after I imagined myself digging a ditch with a backhoe when Emily turned 18. That was the moment when I decided to go to medical school.

The slight complications were 1) I had only completed 2 years of school at a liberal arts college, 2) I didn’t think that I liked chemistry, 3) I hadn’t taken any prerequisites for medical school, and 4) we had a baby and no savings. Therefore, we packed up a U-haul, moved to Salt Lake City, and I became an Art major at the University of Utah.

Charcoal drawing from art school in 1986.
Charcoal drawing from art school in 1986.

I had never taken any art classes before signing up as an Art major, but I figured that with my saddle making interests and skills, that would be the most logical path to get to medical school. It was WONDERFUL (with capital letters…)! Perhaps my favorite class of all time was my first semester drawing class, where thanks to my Professor Nate Winters I started to see for the first time in my life.

Life isn’t a straight line, and it is hard to know how everything connects. Art seemed (and still seems) like the best way to move towards a career in medicine, so I took that path.

Author: edisonleatherworks

I'm a biochemistry professor and leatherworker who likes bicycles, travel, art, education, and music. Walking is my favorite form of transportation, and I regularly practice Tai Chi.

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