A recent visit to see LACMA’s German Expressionism exhibit brought back memories of my brief but meaningful journey through learning how to draw. And that journey taught me that as much as we might think we know ourselves, when it comes to creative expression, we can surprise ourselves.
More than 25 years ago, when I was remodeling my house, I took a great interest in what my interior designer was doing and how she knew so much about style. This ignited a spark in me, which as you all know, exploded into an unextinguishable conflagration. So I took every kind of art and design class that I could get my hands on until I found my place in the art and design world. It was during my Drawing I class at UCLA Extension that I made an interesting discovery.
Those of you who know me know that I tend to love the frill and thrill of Rococo, Chinoiserie and boiserie when it comes to furniture and decorative arts. In my mind as a budding artist, I thought that when my hand finally touched paper, my style would be more along the lines of the Impressionists and likewise frippery. But during that UCLA art class, my hand had a mind of its own and veered sharply from that imagined delicate and pretty Impressionism into the realm of dark and angular German Expressionism.
Hand! What are you doing! And so ended my foray into drawing, launching me upon my journey into art/design/architectural history.
I’m not sure that I necessarily have deep, dark, repressed impulses (yes, I’ll admit to having a sick and twisted sense of humor), but it was a revelation to me that when it comes to art, you never know what might come up. And I would urge you to go with it, embrace your inner German Expressionist, or Impressionist, or whatever style your creative self is seeking to express. After all, discovery and unexpected surprises are among the joys of the arts – and, for that matter, of life itself.