I have some experience drawing, but prior to this class I had no experience drawing still lifes. Freshman year my creativity was channeled into doodling, and my artistic pursuits were limited to the margins of notebooks and the pockets of folders. Drawing still lifes has altered my view of scenery, landscape, and visual compositions in general. Specifically, the still life practice has caused me to naturally identify shapes formed in negative space, and prompted me to consider proportions of objects in relation to one another.
In addition to enhancing my modes of looking, drawing has also provided me a means of stress relief. Wedged in with scientific assignments, drawing exercises my rights brain and provides me with cerebral endorphins. The non-exclusivity of drawing is liberating. I can draw while I listen to music, talk with friends, or watch a movie. In my academic day dominated by tests of attention and complete focus, drawing is a breath of fresh air. However, not all of my drawing pursuits have been stress-free. When midterms are approaching or final papers are looming, the 6+hour commitment to a piece can be overwhelming. This split personality of drawing, and how it can act as a stress-reliever or stress-inducer, causes my feelings about drawing to vary. It is a turbulent relationship, but a rewarding one. The feeling achieved when finishing a piece is without fail enthralling. Spraying Fixatif on a finished charcoal 18 x 24 had become the most triumphant of victories. In addition to improving my drawing abilities, this class has provided me with a sense of balance, and caused me to employ time management skills.
Drawing this semester has also made me realize my strong suits and shortfalls when constructing an image, which is definitely indicative of a successful class. I am far more confident in my abilities to invent an intriguing composition, (it’s all about diagonals!), and am still unsure about creating realistic planes in regard to perspective. Walking away with a confidence boost and idea of where I can improve gives me the courage to continue drawing and the humility to keep trying to improve and learn about drawing techniques. For this, I am incredibly grateful, and am beyond excited to continue exercising my creativity in a comic’s class next semester.
Since I was young, I have always wanted to write and illustrate a children’s book. Though I keep this goal in my back pocket, I have accepted the fact that if I don’t achieve this, I will not be letting myself down. (Though my 5th grade self might tell you otherwise.) However, it remains important to me to hold on to art, hold on to my creativity, and nurture it. I have found at time that I am concerned about maintaining this relationship. However, drawing at Duke has alleviated my anxieties about losing my connection with art that began so long ago. Even if I am not practicing art into old age, I hope to always look at art with an appreciation and perspective that not every other person possesses. I trust that I can accomplish this, especially with the support of a great art department at Duke, which I have had the pleasure to experience this fall. Thank you!