Why I Cried My Eyes Out This Morning


Yep, I’m still musing about my Badger Springs hike, but I had to share this little sketch with you.

In many ways it’s truly nothing special.  Just something I whipped out in about 5 minutes.

I would have loved to work longer on it but Phoenix started saying how hungry he was and the way Hansel looked at me, we both knew it was going to be a looooong walk back to the car.

So my blissful sketching was cut short and onward ho we headed.


I carry my sketchbook with me everywhere.  Especially this one since it’s so small and dainty and doesn’t take up too much space in my purse or backpack.

I whip out sketches in the car, in parking lots, at the playground while Phoenix is engrossed in digging sand, at doctors’ offices, once at my CPA, while sitting at the kitchen table at a friend’s house or while waiting for my grub at a restaurant, and of course when I’m out in nature hiking or such.

I’ve been whipping out sketchbooks since I was a kiddo.  So maybe that’s why I don’t get to tangled about it if people look at me funny.

You would think that all of this sketching was my way of documenting the places I go — but when I look at this sketch here and I remember how the sun that day made everything sparkle and that shadow the mountain casted was an animal — moving, crawling, stalking its way across the valley.  One glance at this sketch and I immediately remember how for just a few micro-seconds I was 15 years old again as my feet dangled off of the boulder that I sat on sketching.

Ok.  So sure, I’m documenting an experience in a sense — but if I’m going to get real with you — and most of all myself —  I’m speaking with my life in a language that comes natural, fluid, and makes total sense to me.

It’s funny that I’m even taking the time to explain it here in a blog post  — but maybe someone needs to read it.  Maybe someone needs to feel less self conscious about the marks that they make — and when/how/where they desperately need to make them.

Ok, so maybe that someone is me.

For the first time in my life I’ve been feeling self conscious about being an artist.  Not about whipping out journals in public — but actually my place in the world as an artist.

I blame it on the media.  On those days when I over indulge in too much political propaganda (and it’s all propaganda – isn’t it?) I start feeling like what good am I to the world as an artist?  How am I being a positive impact?  Shouldn’t I be working for some peace initiative or protesting or handing out blankets to refugees in some foreign land?  Shouldn’t I be doing something way, way more “productive” or something entirely different than swinging my legs off a boulder sketching?

And this morning I caught myself thinking these things when out of nowhere a memory surfaced from an African American Women’s lit class I took way back in college in the nineties.  I was maybe one of three white women sitting in the classroom when the discussion turned to “Ebonics” and how the women in my class struggled in college because they felt the way they spoke naturally wasn’t welcomed in a “higher learning” environment — that somehow their words and organic ways of expressing themselves was inferior and wrong.

The books we read and studied in this class gave them hope and healed their hearts.  The amazing professor we had encouraged everyone to speak in the words and phrases of our own lives — our own homes — our own experiences.

I was really moved by that class.  I loved every single book we read from Toni Morrison to Bell Hooks and the discussions were heart opening and many times difficult to digest as a young, white woman.

But I left that class understanding how important language is — especially the language that represents who we are and how we naturally relate to the world we live in.

I remembered this and I cried.

I’ve said this many times here at Dirty Footprints Studio, so please excuse me as I say it again, but what we do as artists is so needed in the world right now.  The marks we make — the way we navigate life — the silly things we do because it feels like breathing to simply whip out a sketchbook at the back of the check out line — it all matters.  Even if no one sees it, buys it, believes in it, or supports it — it matters, it matters, it matters.

Each mark we make is preserving a language that so desperately needs to thrive — the language of creativity, beauty, and honest self expression.

So I’m done with sipping the fear flavored kool-aid the fucking media is serving us.  I’m done with entertaining these ridiculous doubts I have about my worth in the world as an artist.  I’m done with feeling less than.

Many an artist has come before me fighting the good fight.  Watch me as I proudly take my stand.

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