Has Anyone Seen My Talent?


I seem to have misplaced my artistic talent. I’m sure I haven’t lost it completely but it seems to be well-hidden. At least my skill when touching a felt-tip pen to a fine piece of sketch paper. Maybe I should try doodling on a napkin instead. I’m serious. Some of my best work used to be doodled on napkins.

Yesterday afternoon, I picked up my high-quality sketch pad (given to me in September along with a bunch of great art supplies by the very artistic — and generous — Dowager Duchess). I thought I’d start simply. I took one of my felt-tip razor point pens and began to sketch from a photograph I had taken last week. I very rarely drew from photos or existing art in the past. (I had a high-school art teacher who insisted it was cheating; I learned later that she was wrong, but never really got over it.) Last week, I saw a woman on the street during one of the processions and snapped her picture. She was interesting. I thought it would make a great drawing (despite what Mrs. Aranow had said). It sucked… or I should say, I sucked. But it’s been a long time since I’ve sat and sketched. I knew I needed to relax and get into it.

So, I sat down on my bed and decided I would do what I used to do to relax — all the way through my school years and university. If I really wanted to sketch just for the sake of sketching, I would sprawl out somewhere (usually in bed) and draw my feet. Or my left hand holding the sketch pad. Or whatever was in view. I was always good at feet and hands. So, I decided to sketch my hand. It sucked.


In disgust — after my 10 minutes of effort — I put down the pad and pen. I began to tell myself I never had any talent anyway. But I quickly reminded myself I was simply rusty and I was placing way too much importance on picking up that sketchpad. So, next time (today), I’m going to use pencil instead of pen. And I’m only going to doodle (no hands, no feet just whatever is in my head).

It’s not a competition. I don’t need to get a good grade. I’m not building a portfolio for a job interview. I’m not trying to please a client. No one is going to pay me. And one day soon, I will actually share something new that I enjoyed doing.


Meanwhile, I’m not feeling completely inept. Another unusual gift Chocolate-Bearing-Peter brought from Amsterdam was a do-it-yourself “Foldable Delft Blue Vase Flower Brick” (better known as Vouwbare Delftsblauwe Vaas Bloemenblok). It’s a modern version (in polypropylene) of a 17th-century Delftware flower container. The inner lining is watertight, so you can even fill it with fresh flowers. I handily managed to do that myself. It’s a start.


Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

34 thoughts on “Has Anyone Seen My Talent?”

  1. Well, well, well…I suppose that being an artist makes us similar in so many ways…so you've been hiding it? No need for that, you're just as good if not better than some of these artists of the week.

    enhorabuena papi

  2. Honestly, I quite enjoyed both of your drawings. And no, I'm not high (sorry, Mitchell's Mom!).

    That flower brick, though? Wow. I'd never heard of such a thing. And Delft! Lovely.


  3. It's all gravy, Booby! Get on with it and have fun!

    When you say that you used to get "high", what, you mean you used to live in a tall building or on a hill or something?

  4. Hello Mitch:
    Perhaps it is a truism to say that when one tries too hard, the results are far less satisfying than when one casts care aside and simply 'goes for it'. One of the few things that we think of fondly from our youth was our ability to think all was possible and just 'do' instead of analysing. Your earlier sketches are complex and highly imaginative…..that skill will have developed and not died!!!

  5. I agree Mitch that with practice and no pressure you will find it. Much like a musician 'returning' to their instrument after a long period of time. It does come back.
    Love your 'high' sketch!! Wonder what your high school teacher would have thought of that process?

    1. Jim:
      The "high" sketch was done in university. In my first printmaking studio class at university, I did 7 different pieces (it was an etching studio). I was proud of my technique and I got "C" on each piece with no comment nor discussion from the teacher. I had always been an "A" student in studio art. I then gave up, got high, and doodled on a little zinc plate while I sat out on the quad with friends. After a couple of days, I printed that plate onto that little paper towel. The teacher came over and marveled at the print and said I had really captured something there. I continued to get high and reproduced the doodle onto a large plate. That was my last piece of the semester. I got a B in the course. With 7 "C"s, I figure that last one was worth an A++++++. Sadly, that's when I "learned" that getting high was a very good thing.

  6. Keep at it, Mitch…practice makes perfect or at least keeps you out of trouble. I used to manage an art and drafting supply store and used to sample the products continually….I appreciate your attempt and don't give up!

  7. I have a saying by Sylvia Plath on the wall by my computer. It says, "The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." It sounds like you beat yourself up over your self-perceptions of your own creativity as much as I do. I cave in to self-doubt every time I work on something and my vicious inner critic cuts me down to where I abandon most things I start–including blogs. And, then I beat myself up over being such a quitter! DO NOT be like me!

    1. Ms. Sparrow:
      Poor Sylvia Plath was so right about so many things. We should make a pact to stop being like each other and follow Sylvia Plath's example (well, except for the suicide).

  8. Cut yourself some slack. I was a professional artist for decades but I haven't drawn anything in five years, A month ago I had to draw something for my new blog (still under construction) and I couldn't believe what a big mess I made. It was as if I'd never drawn or painted before. It took me four or five attempts before I could execute a competent pen and ink drawing. Repetition is what is necessary here, like exercising a muscle. Keep at it; I know you'll be pleased with the results before you know it.

    1. Monkey:
      When I managed a design and editorial team for a university (and could therefore no longer be temperamental myself), I had a card framed in my office. It read, "Just because you're temperamental, it doesn't mean you're an artist."

  9. You could always bake. No, wait… Ok. I've got it: have a couple glasses of wine before you pick up the pen next time. 😉

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      Ha! Have I ever told about the time I decided to bake protein muffins from scratch? I did everything perfectly… except I forgot to add the protein. I wonder if absinthe would work better than wine…

  10. Haven't put a brush to canvas in 5 years while I enjoyed it so much. Nowadays I think I've got no space in my small apartment to hang them, or the wall is covered in books, or I like the art [by others] better then my own. BTW, I use photos too.

    You made the brick all by yourself? I'm amazed! The instructions were trickier then one on an Ikea product… *wink*

  11. Ooooh, I didn't know you were an artist! I had a high school art teacher who used to nag me to draw from life too. But there's nothing wrong with using reference material. I illustrated a kids' book about rattlesnakes and could hardly sit out in the desert up close and personal with Western Diamondbacks for every picture! 🙂

    Keep on sketching. I think we get a bit rusty when we don't do it for awhile (I guess that applies to most things in life!) You could do a gallery of show of art on cocktail napkins. 🙂

    1. Knatolee:
      You know, I actually love your idea of a collection of art on cocktail napkins. I think I'm going to do that as a way to relax and be creative again!. Thanks for that inspiration! YOUR art is amazing!

Please share your thoughts...

%d bloggers like this: