In the midst of the busy academic buzz that fills our lives here at Duke, drawing is a refreshing change of scenery. ARTSVIS 199 forced me to disengage a brain swirling with numbers, lab reports, meetings, and monotonous assignments. When I am drawing, all that remains from the chaos that once was my mind is a desire to create. I engage my eyes to meticulously observe a subject, and I unleash my left hand onto paper to copy what I see. That's it. I wish everyone was forced to take a class such as this one, so that they too would force themselves to break from the stress of this institution.
Drawing is a break from the daily drudgery in order to create something. Graphite and charcoal on paper arranged in careful (but also somehow thoughtless) strokes result in an image that others can identify and respond to. It's a beautiful form of expression and communication.
I have immense respect for everyone in our class and for artists in general, and getting to see their work is a pleasure and a blessing. At the beginning of the class, though, being surrounded by amazing art was a bit disheartening. I initially struggled with seeing my own pieces as "good" compared to the works of all of the amazing artists in the class. When I look at my own work, my eyes are drawn right to the flaws and inconsistencies that I couldn't muster the skill to fix. But in the end, I have come to value the actual act of drawing more than the result. Looking at my work makes me feel good -- I think about the meditative time I spent working on it and how it all came together from basic materials into what I have before me. I have learned that there is beauty in that fact, regardless of how successfully I recreated my subjects. Thinking about my drawing talent (or more appropriately lack of drawing talent) doesn't keep me up at night. Drawing doesn't have to be only for the talented. And besides, even though I tell people I suck at drawing, I've certainly noticed a huge improvement in my abilities as the semester has progressed. Drawing is certainly something I hope to keep practicing, even after the semester comes to a close.