Do you really know?

Happy first day of May! In this time where most churches are closed, and the faithful unable to interact with the priests, our dear shepherds have been trying meet with their flock for a few minutes twice a day via chats on YouTube.

Sometimes it’s hard to sit still and listen.

So, to keep myself attentive, and to look more forward to these talks, I’ve taken to trying to do quick sketches of the padres while they’re chatting in their video.

That’s when I realized that it is daunting to try and draw someone. 

Because after I finish, when I compare the subject with my sketch, it’s very obvious whether or not I’ve successfully reproduced the person two dimensionally on paper.

Most times, you fail. At least I do.

That means every single time I sit down to draw someone, and sometimes anything else, I get stressed out, become all tense, and start anticipating failure.

If my mind is already predicting failure, then it’s going to definitely come out of my fingertips!

Then, thank God, two weeks ago, I made a connection.

While I was trying to loosely sketch something, I remembered contour drawing. Contour drawing is where you try to draw an object without picking up your pencil from the paper, yet without looking at your own drawing. The result after much practice at this is hopefully a very strong connection between your eye and hand coordination. 

Of course the results are quite laughable, and anything you draw after that is quite good in comparison.

So, I decided to start drawing whatever I wanted first with contour drawing, then I would be able to laugh and remember why I was really drawing or painting. 

Why do I draw and paint?

It is first both for the enjoyment and to capture the beauty of something. No other reason can come first. 

So, back to drawing the good padres.

I started doing contour drawings of each, and then loose, 5-10 minute sketches. If some of their talks went longer, then, I could do more sketches.

In the contour, it was quite remarkable, my mom pointed out, that as broken up as the drawing ends up looking, you can still piece together what is there and see something semi-believable. 

For the sketch, as I drew each of priests, I began to notice more about each one’s features. Similarities and contrasts.

And then I would compare the results with the real deal on the screen. Close, maybe a tad bit of a cigar, but not enough for a good long smoke.

It was then that I realized that we can really take for granted the visibility of everything around us. Sight is precious. 

We see, but to paraphrase Sherlock Holmes, “Do we observe?”

We can look at someone for so long, see them day in and day out, know them personally, but do we really know them? Do we know those features well enough? Are they memorized, engrained in us -I’m thinking of the scene from the Little Princess where Sara is running her hands over her father’s face before he leaves for war -if we lost that person the next day, could we remember enough to immortalize that person on paper?

It makes me wonder how well I know the features of my own family and friends -could I do the same to them?

I hope you enjoyed this little reflection on my newest habit. If you liked this, please consider subscribing and following this blog!

Thanks so much for reading!

#see #observe #contourdrawing #sketch #sspx #priests #catholic #atomichabits #imperfectionista #gratitude


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