How Memories and Realisations Can be Sparked by a Single Drawing

Bedside table sketch

Almost every day I draw something in my sketchbook, and if I don’t do that I’ll probably be colouring a drawing in Photoshop or, more recently, carving lino to make a rubber stamp.

I’d always intended to study art, design or photography at university but, although I studied fine art and art history up to A level, I did a degree in Theology and Religious Studies.

I became a school teacher, but I didn’t teach art. Even so, I would use art in my lessons whenever I could – encouraging kids to create images or comic strips to help them remember things, helping them to draw things if they got stuck, providing materials so they could make art work on fabric or create Documstained glass windows on acetate. The list goes on.

After a few years teaching I was diagnosed with M.E/C.F.S and spent long periods at home resting and recuperating. But when I had the energy I would make greetings cards for friends and family.

Within a year of leaving my job I started a Master’s degree, again in Theology, but in my spare time I kept making cards, doing some sewing, crochet and then started to take photos again like I’d done when I was younger.

Every so often I’d try drawing again but I’d get frustrated that my sketches weren’t very good so I’d stop.

Danny Gregory’s book, The Creative License changed that for me. I read it about 3 years ago and haven’t really stopped drawing since. This book taught me to forget about perfection and to just enjoy the meditative feeling that comes from being absorbed in drawing.

Since then I’ve drawn all kinds of things but more often than not my drawings are of objects or scenes that are right in front of me. I’m documenting the everyday stuff, and this felt new to me, compared to what I’d drawn in school.

Then a few days ago a message popped up in my Facebook inbox from a friend in Greece, saying ‘Look what I found!’ and attached to that message was the picture at the top of this post.

I’d almost forgotten doing it but I made this drawing probably in 1999 when I was at university, sitting on my friend’s bed. Seeing it again sparked a lot of memories in different way from looking at a photograph. When I looked at it I started to remember the moment that I drew it, and I also remember those objects on the bedside table – even the ones that don’t look very clear on paper are actually quite clear in my memory.

And then I remembered sitting in my room, in the same house where I made this drawing, and making a watercolour sketch of the view from my window.

So it seems that drawing everyday objects and scenes isn’t actually that new for me at all. And even though I stopped doing it for a while, I’ve eventually found my way back to drawing and documenting my life, almost subconsciously, because it seems that back then I didn’t even realise that that’s what I was doing.

If you’d like to own a print of one of my drawings don’t forget to check my Etsy shop, which I’ll be adding even more items to very soon.

6 thoughts on “How Memories and Realisations Can be Sparked by a Single Drawing

  1. Peter Bryenton Reply

    A good story which illustrates the value in making art with physical media, then giving it away.
    Best wishes,

  2. Dale Reply

    Wow, Cathryn… I would almost call this a calling…
    I love that drawing you made… I can well imagine re-seeing it would bring back a whole slew of memories…

    1. Cathryn Worrell Reply

      How is it that I’ve only just seen your comment here?? It does seem that drawing is my default creative outlet, that’s for sure :).

  3. Gary Schluter Reply

    So enjoyed the capsule of your recent life. It fills between the lines of your daily postings and brings to life a Facebook Friend.
    I’m always eager to see what you will post next.

    1. Cathryn Worrell Reply

      Thanks Gary, I always appreciate your words of encouragement.

      1. Gary Schluter Reply

        Words of encouragement and appreciation come easy, in consideration for what you do, your art and your endeavors. It’s especially nice to receive original words and pictures, when most of what comes in on Facebook is “Likes”.
        I always look forward to hearing from you.

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