A drawing diary is different that a sketch book. My sketch book is a place to keep life drawings, studies, experiments, and practice new techniques. My diary is where I record stories from my life with drawings and a few words.
It took me quite a while to figure out how to illustrate scenes from my life, but I finally developed a cartoon style that I enjoy a lot. In the process, I discovered that there’s nothing more personal than a memory in drawing form. Somehow the hand records more than just the visual scene. All kinds of things like sounds, scents, temperature, and mood stick to a drawing like glue.
There are two volumes of this diary now, and if there are ever strange circumstances that require my husband and me to grab our animals, a few possessions, and then run for the hills, I’ll grab these diaries.
Here’s the latest story, straight from my drawing diary.
It all started a few years ago with my best friend’s dog, Max.
Max is a beautiful Bluetick Coonhound adopted from a rescue organization. He’s a brilliant, courageous, and kind companion, and he has a great sense of humor too. In other words, he’s all you could ask for in a dog, and more than you get with most humans.
My friend suggested that I adopt a dog too, but my husband and I were living in a tiny house with four cats who’d never even been close to a dog. So, although we loved the idea of a dog, we felt we just didn’t have the room.
The subject came up again after we moved to a larger home with a fenced yard though, so when our neighbor offered to give us a tiny Teacup Pomeranian named Roscoe, I said “Why, yes! We’d love to have a dog!”
Roscoe was a sweetheart of a dog and was really (seriously) tiny. Unfortunately, Roscoe had never seen cats before and the sight of our four sent him into a tiny dog anxiety attack.
I tried to comfort him and convince him that I’d protect him, but he just wanted to go home. I took him home.
Knowing that I couldn’t reassure a very small dog that I could protect him from our cats was pretty hard on my ego, so I started looking at other dogs to convince myself that I still was a good person.
And then a doggy miracle happened. I came across this dog, who was up for adoption at a local rescue, and it said under her picture: “She likes Cats!”
If you’ll notice, Dot is part Bluetick Coonhound and looks quite a bit lot like Max, which I figured was another sign that all good-things-doggy were coming our way.
She was going to be at an adoption event the next day, so my husband and I trotted off to meet her. She was as gorgeous as her picture and had a quiet and intelligent demeanor that appealed to us.
The doggy gods were truly gazing at us with love in their eyes, because we adopted her the next day and she came home to live with us immediately.
What the doggy gods forgot to tell us was that Dot had a few “issues” with changing homes so many times in her life. And she wasn’t all that quiet either.
She was so loud and lonely that I spent the first night sleeping in the mud room with her.
Some of you know that I have GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) and it limits the kinds of things I can do. This year the agoraphobia, that sometimes comes along with GAD, surfaced again and was ruining my Spring. I love to be outside in Spring and the agoraphobia kept me indoors too much. (If you don’t know, agoraphobia makes it very hard to leave your house, or your yard, or anyplace that’s your “safe” zone.)(Yes, I know it doesn’t make sense, but that’s the way it is.)
Dot is not a perfect dog, but it turns out she’s the dog I need.
She’s so energetic that she keeps me moving all day long, and exercise has consistently worked to keep my anxiety under control. (And, oh boy, I’m thoroughly exercised daily now.) Focusing on something or someone else helps to ease the anxiety too, and Dot requires all my attention just about all the time.
With Dot around, the world is a simple place. We jog around the yard. We smell the flowers. We watch squirrels and we love, love, love birds. I bring my pencils along and draw in our down time. Dot just brings herself.
If I need backup, I email my best friend who is now an expert on getting along with intelligent and energetic Bluetick Hounds. (I email her at least six times a day.)
The doggy gods work in mysterious ways.