‘I in drawing, drawing in me’

September 7, 2007


‘Nori’s jeans’

This is one of the drawings made by Tomoko, a private art student I took on after a long period of not teaching.
Tomoko hadn’t drawn since she was a child. She had loved drawing and was discouraged by her surroundings from pursuing it as a study because, in her society, art was held apart as a high aspiration for talented people only. I guess those around her didn’t have the eyes to recognize her genuine talent and love of art.

In her first lesson, and from then on all the talent that had lain dormant for 20 years or more just flowed out. She was doing university level work after a few lessons.  She, in her utterly creative and poetic version of English, spoke of the healing she was experiencing as she rediscovered her drawing ability.  But being able to do art also returned to her a part of herself that had not been allowed to flourish, and with it came growing self confidence plus a whole new set of life questions. It was a beautiful thing to be witness to.

It was very hard breaking off our lessons and weekly contact when her husband’s period of study here was over, but we have kept in touch. And helping Tomoko rediscover and develop her artistic ability was a gift for me too. It reawakened my joy in teaching and got me drawing again.  Plus I have a dear friend in Japan now.


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