A couple of weeks ago I returned from a much needed vacation. It was not a typical vacation. It was a retreat. My wife and family generously allowed me to escape into the mountains of North Carolina and reconnect with the more fine arts side of myself that had been getting dusty over the last couple decades of the endless pursuit of the next concept, deadlines, family and just life in general. The destination was Wildacres — a week-long art retreat put on several times a year by the Ringling College of Art and Design. I signed up for figure drawing — one because it’s so very hard to draw people (everybody knows when it’s not right) and there’s something so classic about the figure. It transcends fad, fashion, cool, intellectual and bullshit. It’s universal.
What did I learn? Well, even though there’s been many years and layers upon layers of sedimentary life heaped on top of me since being in college, underneath it all is the same core of a person. The way I see life and what’s important to me is still there, despite having to adopt or adapt to the needs and priorities of a being a husband and father, of work and clients. And even though my job now mostly consists of meetings, emails and creative briefs and almost never drawing — I can still draw. Not great, but not bad. More importantly it helped me see again (if you’ve ever had a drawing class you know what I mean). It’s not just putting on paper what your mind sees. It’s really following your eyes and letting them take you on the journey and somehow connecting your hand to your eye and letting that conscious mind turn off. It was metaphorically like riding a bike. Once you learn how to do it, you always have it. You just need to get back on.
So now back in grind, things feel a little different. I do feel like I’ve got the wind in my hair and I am seeing things different but also the same — in an important way. Where I go from here? Well, I’m not sure but I’ll trust my eyes to lead the way to my heart. Saying it now It seems so basic — vision to the heart.