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You might say I am a delayed bloomer. I gave up art in fourth grade when a girl in my class drew perfect horses. I was miserable, because the only thing I managed to get out that year was a funny little dog (Exhibit A) — a far cry from a magnificent, true-to-life horse. Defeated, I gave up drawing until 25 years later when I was teaching first grade in a poor, resource-starved school. Scarcity of materials and desperation drove me to draw stick figures for my bilingual first-grade class (Exhibit B). Here, I attained a fan base; “Oooo. Maestra. Es bonito. It’s beautiful.” At last, recognition! At least until I moved out of the classroom and into graduate school.

As much as I liked exercising my brain muscles in the critique-centered world of graduate school, I was stressed by my dissertation work. So, I did what any sane, procrastinating graduate student would do. I began to doodle, doodle, and doodle some more. Sometimes, I would give my doodle a title (Exhibit C). It was a blast. I outlawed critiques and did my thing. I bought my first sketchbook, making it a haven without goals or judgment. Soon, I was carting pens and sketchbooks everywhere. I kept doodling (and titling) until I developed my style. Now, a bazillion drawings later, I am an artist who still cannot draw a perfect horse but doesn’t mind in the least.

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