Before taking my first drawing class at Duke, I thought that good artists are those who can draw pictures extremely accurate based on their subject. I thought good drawings are based solely on the picture in comparison to the real subject.
After taking drawing at Duke, however, I now think that art is well done if a message is being conveyed that might not be in the subject material itself. Good artists are those that can use arbitrary spaces and objects to convey a narrative. This doesn't necessarily mean that the piece of work looks exactly like the subject they are drawing.
Messages can be conveyed in a number of ways, from line weight to the actual composition of the piece. The message, to me, is particularly interesting when the different subjects in the piece have relationships with each other. I think that making a narrative in your piece is much more difficult for the artist in comparison to just making the piece look exactly like the subject.
When I look at other pieces of artwork I now am able to better interpret what is going on in the piece and what message the artist might be trying to convey. Before taking this class, I looked at the piece almost exclusively based on how realistic it looked. Now, looking at art and making art is much more interesting and complex when trying to depict and uncover a deeper message or narrative.