Friday, April 22, 2011

Alicia Li- Art Reflection

I began taking private art lessons at the age of eight. I loved it from the start and looked forward to seeing my teacher every Saturday for a mere two hours. Art has always been a form of relaxation and entertainment to me. However, maybe it’s because of the way I was brought up by my very strict Chinese immigrant parents, but I’ve never even considered becoming anything other than a scientist, lawyer, or doctor. Here at Duke, I am a Biomedical Engineer major and a pre-med student, but when I saw an opening in my schedule (after signing up for Organic Chemistry 2 and Linear Algebra/Differential Equations), I jumped at the chance to take a drawing class.

I’ve never taken a class at school so this was definitely a new experience. In high school, I changed art tutors and began drawing more rigorously for three or four hours every Saturday, one-on-one with my teacher. Thus, being in a class setting was hard to adjust to at first. I have also become used to working on an assignment over a few weeks, or even months (for some oil paintings) so I had a rough time coming up with new things to draw every week and only spending one week for each assignment. I think this class has definitely helped me become more creative. Before, the only drawings I’d do were the stereotypical violin or portrait of friends and family members.

My favorite art medium has always been charcoal. Some people find that weird because charcoal isn’t colorful and it’s dirty and messy to work with. But I love how graceful and sophisticated charcoal looks across the page. Charcoal has a beautiful, polished look when used correctly.

Besides charcoal drawing, I really enjoy Chinese ink and brush painting. I dabbled in it a bit with a second art teacher who only taught Chinese brush painting. Chinese painting is very different from western art because it’s so impulsive. In fact, my mother initially brought me to learn the technique because she thought I needed to get more “gusty” when I drew or painted. I have always been super meticulous and soft-handed when it came to drawing or painting. The thing with ink is…once it’s on paper, it’s not coming off. Go big or go home.

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