When I was in middle school, one of my best friends was an art tutor named John. John was an eighty some years old Hawaiian shirts enthusiast, and I would meet with him in a small art shop called The Thistle Patch for about two hours every Saturday morning. We would sit and draw things from movies, nature books, and new concepts we made up on the spot. Pineapple juice from a can, and coffee were our choice fuels for creativity, and conversation.
Our conversations varied greatly. We talked about beetles, Star Wars, movie effects, boats, past experiences, and faith. He told me stories of when he was a naval gun man; of shooting for dear life as Kamikazes hurled towards his ship. We both agreed that peace was preferable.
Not too many techniques were discussed, during the sessions, but as we talked about life, and everything that comes with it, I learned why I wanted to make art. It’s important to know why you do something when you intend to do a lot of it. John taught me how to create, more than he taught me how to draw, and I am grateful for that.
When I went to high school, I stopped going to the The Thistle Patch each Saturday. Life seemed too busy. John passed away about two years later.
I still regret having never told my friend what he had done for me.