Time Adds Beauty

It’s never too late. Just before COVID hit I found a book at the library in preparation for our trip to England. I didn’t realize that this book was about to open a new world to me, not just in travel, not just in history, but in illustration.

Susan Branch is an artist and writer who wrote and illustrated her own trilogy of autobiographies, cookbooks, and basically now has a beautiful crafty empire. I picked up the last book in her trilogy first, as it was in the travel section of the library and I was searching for inspiration for our trip. She wrote about her and her husband’s trip to England and hand lettered the entire book. She adds comical depictions of their adventures, and even photos and pictures of pressed flowers and other tokens of remembrance.

Susan Branch admits she didn’t even start painting until she got a set of watercolors for her birthday in her thirties. When I read that, a part of me was awakened.

I had always loved to doodle as a child. My parents would “oooh” and “ahh” at my drawings like parents are supposed to do so I never thought much of it. I would relish Sunday mornings. My dad would make his coffee and “big breakfast” with eggs, bacon and “toastie squares” and I would sit next to the window at the kitchen table for hours, pouring over the Sunday funnies. The Comic section was MINE (no one wanted it anyway after they finished eating.) The sheer, pale yellow curtain would wave gently in the breeze next to me, sometimes tickling my arm as it blew back and forth, being sucked against the screen, and then back to me, almost beckoning me to come outside. But I couldn’t be drawn away from Bill Keane and his adorably gang of kids, or any of the other little imaginary worlds laid out in color with their own style before me. I had a pen and a napkin and I would makes circles and letters and just let the inspiration flow. I would get up from the table eventually, having drawn on all the napkins. I preferred them to paper because my pen would bleed into them and accentuate the flow of ink. (We were often low on paper products! My poor parents!)

Last year when visiting a friend’s burial site in Arizona, I turned around to see the burial place of artist and illustrator Bill Keane and his wife. one of my great inspirers.

Fast forward a few years (let’s just say I am passed thirty by a long shot) and I got my first set of watercolors last year’s during COVID-19 lock down. I started drawing little cottages and places we visited on our trip. I started to animate my dreams, and the response I got was beyond my sweet parent’s encouragement (which means so much to me still.)

It’s never too late. Don’t listen to that lie. If you. Have something in you that needs awaken, ask the Holy Spirit to send you inspiration, and believe me He will. He planted that seed in your soul and He waits patiently for you to put aside your fear to water it and let it grow in your heart. Be brave. You really have nothing to lose.

One of my first Covid doodles.
A more complicated attempt from a photo and more rewarding!
Another destination on my list. St Edward.
A recent commission.

2 thoughts on “Time Adds Beauty

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