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Knowing What You Don't Know


Coffee Cup - Charcoal - 2002

It was shocking to be told that I would have to unlearn so much if I wanted to be an artist who didn’t start until adulthood. Being an accomplished information technology manager, systems administrator, computer guru, paralegal-of-the-year-no-less, cook, baker, mother, daughter, spouse, neighbor, homeowner, etc., I found the idea of having to unlearn anything almost offensive. But I knew what I didn’t know. I did not know how to get the ideas in my head onto paper, which is why I signed up for art lessons. Apparently, it wasn’t magic after all. The first thing I had to unlearn was that I saw things as they were. It started with that darn coffee cup at my first drawing lesson. I had many coffee cups, teacups, sets of dishes from mothers, aunts, and grandmothers. I’d learned to walk with full cups of coffee in order to learn balance. But I still did not know what a coffee cup really looked like. It took a whole week of drawing that simple coffee mug in order to see the lines, shadows, gaps, highlights, circles that were not really circles but smashed up ovals, lines that disappeared into nothingness, cracks, and many things I had never seen before. I was amazed at how much I did not know.

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