Reflections on Barnyard Saints


My brothers and I always drew during church. Sometimes we'd have little blacksmiths where we designed swords for each other, or we'd take turns drawing our perfect house. Mine was always a castle with corn growing outside and a secret tunnel underneath.

The earliest drawing I can remember making was a man carrying hundreds of pancakes. He had a big grin, a chef's hat and ovals over him (representing the pancakes). I drew it at church on one of the dozens of notepads that my dad got from his work.

I remember thinking that it was such a ridiculous idea: one man carrying all those pancakes.

My mom told me that I thought I was bad at drawing when I was a kid. Truthfully, compared to my brothers who were 5 and 10 years older than me, I was relatively worse! She told me that I stopped really drawing for a couple years. One day I realized that I was actually okay, and in elementary school I cemented my identity as the girl who could draw.

On Monday, I attended an activity at church where everyone picked an art project and just ran with it. There was modeling clay, origami, collage and contour drawings. My first contour drawing was a head of one of the goats above. They live by my work, and I visit them a few times a week to take pictures of them and scream at them from my car.

After the goat, I drew one of my chickens. Then a cow. They became saints, and the people at the table started brainstorming pun names for them all.

One of the saddest things things about these drawings is that as I finished them almost everyone at the table said “I can't draw” or “I'm not an artist.” People were drawing really interesting things, but because they didn't view them as being as “good” as my drawings they dismissed what they had just done.

I know that I'm guilty of this, but this is really sad. Drawing is such an outlet for me, and one of the ways that I feel fulfilled in my life. It was such a bummer to hear all these lovely people speaking badly about their own talents.

Keep drawing, and be kind to yourself when you do.