by Lori Fuller
I came from a large family. I was the second child in a family of six. I had two wonderful parents, both worked hard to provide everything we needed. I spent a majority of my childhood living in small rural towns. I loved the outdoors, especially in the summer time where we could play outside from the time the sun came up until sunset. I loved the fresh air, chasing fireflies, and riding bikes. I had the makings of a perfect childhood but it wasn’t always a happy experience.
My father worked in a position with ample room for promotion. With a large family of six, he worked very hard and took advantage of every opportunity that would provide more money for our family. This resulted in a lot of moving. When I reached fourth grade, I was in my fourth school. With all of the moving, I was afraid to make friends; it was always heartbreaking to say goodbye. As a result, I became extremely shy. In elementary school, the teachers were often concerned and as you can guess, all of the kids in my class thought I was strange since I didn’t talk much. I was left out of a lot of activities. I was the only girl in my class that wasn’t a cheerleader.
One my worse childhood memories happened in girl scouts. I was very excited when I was invited to a sleepover until I heard the leader's daughter say that I was only invited because her mother made her. She said I was weird and of course, all of the other girls agreed.
I didn’t find salvation at school. I struggled with reading and failed most of the reading exams. I read and re-read the chapters and I could never remember what I read. I did not like school. My school focused heavily on academics with very little time for recess and art. "Art" consisted of holiday crafts; gluing cotton on Santa’s beard and cutting hearts on Valentine’s Day.
Looking back, the one saving grace was a drawing book my mother bought me: Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Animals. I absolutely loved the book and quickly found a passion for drawing. I loved how you could draw animals with simple shapes. The book has dogs, monkeys, a bear, and a lion. My absolute favorite was the fearless dragon located on the last page. I must have drawn that dragon a hundred times!
I often took the book and drawings to school where the kids in my class were excited to see my work. They loved my animal drawings and the scenes I would create. For the first time, I saw my classmates smile; they were eager to see what I had planned next and that made me happy.
I never really knew why my mother gave me the drawing book or how she knew it was exactly what I needed. I am just so happy she did.
I am currently working on a colored pencil drawing book for children. I know there are probably many kids with circumstances similar to mine. I want to be able to reach out to them and say- you are special.
Lori Fuller finds great inspiration in the everyday display of the natural world; the textures of the rocks, the beauty of moving water, and an unforeseen color palette. Her goal is open the eyes of the viewer and establish a connection to the natural beauty that surrounds us.
See more from her at http://www.lafullerlandscapes.com/