I have mixed feelings about my experience in Drawing 101. On the whole, though, I’m glad I took the class.
Generally, I found it difficult to balance an art class with my other commitments at Duke. All the projects were incredibly time consuming, especially towards the end of the course when we had to draw an entire landscape for every assignment. The prospect of adding to my sketchbook became increasingly stressful. The last few weeks of class were not very enjoyable for this reason, and also because I was seeing less improvement in my technique, though I was still proud of what I produced.
I think part of my problem was that I am a perfectionist by nature. I was spending more and more time and energy on each sketch until it became a burden to complete one drawing. To try to cope with this tendency, I would set a timer each time I sat down to work on my sketchbook and I wouldn’t let myself spend more than a half an hour on a sketch. I still felt like I never had time to produce the highest quality of work that I was capable of.
Despite these struggles, I did enjoy learning how to draw. I had not taken an art class since the 6th grade, and I missed creating beautiful things. Since a very young age, my older sister was (and continues to be) a gifted artist. My work has never been, nor will it ever be, comparable to hers. For this reason, I had a bit of a self-defeating attitude when I considered dabbling in the fine arts, despite my desire to create.
I finally scratched my itch this semester. I found that I am, as I suspected, not very talented, but that with practice and a lot of time I could produce something decent. This is enough for me. I am proud of my drawings even if they do not seem like much compared to the art of others.
I am thankful for the opportunity to learn this craft and to see how far I could take it. I am also happy to have the pictures that I drew of Duke as keepsakes. I will graduate in a few weeks, and these drawings are a nice memento of my time here.