are we too busy to draw?

IMG_2070-001Flipping through art books and looking at the paintings and drawings from the 1800s, my eyes are drawn toward the floral print on women’s dresses or the patterned wallpaper in the background. I’m enthralled by the details shown in these artworks. It must have taken the artists weeks or months to paint or draw all that detail.

Although it could be a meditating activity, I cannot picture myself doing this type of work. I would like to be able to draw free-handed without the aid of a camera, but the thought of spending a whole afternoon or a whole day on drawing wallpaper patterns seemed daunting. It also seemed not to warrant the time and effort, especially in this digital world where duplicating a complex image takes virtually no time whatsoever.

But where do we draw the line as to whether an activity is worthy or not? How do we evaluate whether time is well spent? I don’t have the answer. All I know is this, I don’t currently possess a heart that is quiet enough to draw ornate ornaments 3 hours at a time.

My instructor inspired me last night, as he often does. He had achieved pinnacle academically, having a MFA from Yale. Although not in Arts professionally, in other words he holds a normal job, he still paints and draws regularly. My guess is that he is one of those traditional artists, who put his artistic integrity above material needs and who’s never satisfied with his own work, that he would probably be famous one day after his death when the world finally have a chance to view his art. He told us that these days he draws more than he paints, because drawing takes less time. He only gets half an hour lunch break at his work, and he would use that time to draw, sometimes in his car. I routinely waste half a day either in mindless novels / TV episodes or in bare idleness. And I’m the one who always complain about having no time.

Ashamed, but I still read till 1:30am nonetheless. How can I transition out of these passive activities and into some more productive ones?