Friday, April 16, 2010

Call Me From Heaven

Call Me From Heaven
7" x 5", Mixed Media

There are about six blogs that I read religiously. I put them in my bookmarks toolbar and check them out when I have time. As I mentioned, I am taking a class in blogging. For our assignment to answer the question, “who is my ideal reader”, I went to each blog and asked myself, why do I read it, who else reads it and what makes me return to read again and again?

One of my favorites blogs is written by Danny Gregory. I first found his book, The Creative License, at my local bookstore on the “staff picks” table. The recommendation went something like: I wish everyone would read this book. If you ever wanted to draw, it will change your life. That was good enough for me. I read the book, cover to cover. Then I went back to the beginning and did exactly what Danny told me to do, step by step. If you want to start drawing or make your art more often, trust me, the bookstore guy was right, it changed my life.

Oh, but there was more. His blog is FILLED with information on drawing! There are links to cool sites, videos… Then he wrote new book, The Illustrated Life, a collection of sketchbook pages from artists all over the world—with podcasts! I devoured every word, spent hours exploring. Meanwhile, I learned personal things about Danny and his wife Patti and son Jack. I knew that Danny’s life had been touched by tragedy. He explains in his earlier book Everyday Matters, how he started drawing again after his wife was paralyzed in a subway accident. Every. Day. Matters. he says, and you believe him. There were posts about what Patti was doing and I remember the posts when his son, Jack, was deciding whether or not to go to a high school for the arts. I watched vacation videos. In other words, I felt like a friend in that weird blogosphere sort of way.

So the other day I went to check in on Danny and was devastated to find this.

Tragedy, again.

I was heartbroken, knocked sideways, lost.

Then, do you see? towards the end of the post, he says,
“In the days following Patti’s death, I lost my appetite, my ability to sleep, my concentration, my will. I hesitated to pick up a pen. Nothing seemed to matter, let alone the everyday. But then, after some time spent staring into space, I began again to draw. And I must and will continue. Drawing brings me meaning. To abandon it would betray Patti’s memory and myself. I hope that if you are hesitating to draw, beating yourself up because you’re not good enough, telling yourself you have no time to spare, feeling distracted and down, remember that, though life can be plucked from us at any moment, it is full of wonder and beauty. Keeping an illustrated journal is the perfect way to capture and treasure the gems that lie all around us. A few minutes a day make it all worth while.”

Always generous, kind, loving, smart, talented, and wise…that’s why I, along with thousands of others, read Danny’s blog. I know that nothing can take away the pain of losing Patti, but maybe there is some small comfort in the many messages Danny has received from his readers. They are the best kind of readers of all.


  1. Hi Jennifer, I am one of your Blogging classmates. I just wanted to let you know that I love your post! Thank you for sharing! I had heard of Danny's books but never read them. After reading your post and going to his blog I want to get his books. Your art work is wonderful, love collages!

  2. Jennifer, I wanted to let you know that I got Danny's book "The Creative License" and I love it! He writes in a way that just sucks you in. I stayed up till past 2am reading it last night. Thank you again for sharing about the book.