But now, things are changing. I'm learning that just because I don't have a natural talent for something doesn't mean that I can't learn how to do it, and that I can't enjoy it even when I'm just starting out.
Two people have been instrumental in my process of discovering this new interest, even though they don't know it. The first is Andrea Schroeder of the Creative Dream Incubator. She posted a simple tutorial on her site for how to draw mandalas and her enthusiasm for them drew me in. (Pun intended.) She emphasizes that you don't have to be good at drawing to draw mandalas and her instructions are ridiculously easy to follow. I can't thank her enough for introducing me to this art form. I find that I get lost in the repetitiveness of forming the circle, and it becomes almost meditative.
Thanks to Jamie's recommendation, I have now discovered a fascinating series of books that is changing how I think about drawing. Each book has a different focus - nature, animals, fashion, etc., and is called, simply, 20 Ways to Draw a (fill in the blank), as in 20 Ways to Draw a Tree, 20 Ways to Draw a Dress, etc. The books are designed to be sketchbooks, and each two-page spread features 20 illustrated examples of 45 themes, with blank space for you to draw your own.
The books are marketed to "artists, designers and doodlers," but I would say some of the examples are simplistic enough to be attempted by kids... or me! The idea is that all drawings are made up of a combination of lines, shapes and patterns, and once we identify these, we can break down pictures into more manageable elements. Start with the big shapes and lines first, and then fill in the details.
And let me tell you, it works. I bought 20 Ways to Draw a Cat, and I am pleased (and amazed) to report that even my first attempts do look like actual animals. (There are 44 other animals included in addition to cats - everything from flamingoes to whales.) I never thought that I would have any affinity for drawing, but now I find that when I have spare time I have a hard time deciding between reading and drawing, and believe me, that is saying something.
The moral(s) of my story? It's never too late to try something new. You don't have to be an expert at everything. It's okay to have hobbies that have no real purpose. If someone you admire tells you that something is worthwhile, believe them and give it a try. You'll be so glad you did.