Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Anyone Can Be An Artist

A friend sent me this today after a semester of seeing me struggle through my weekly drawings and criticize myself more harshly than I should. Thinking back on the semester, I found it appropriate to include this image in this final blog post.

On the very first day in the beginning of the semester I was immediately intimidated by many of the other students with far more artistic background than myself. Drawing the first study drawing in class, I was shy about my art, I didn't want to show it to anyone, and I was afraid to open myself to criticism because I already so harshly criticized myself. I thought, sure I've dabbled in ceramics before, but drawing is nothing like that and there is no way that I am possibly going to do well in this class with my background, I am a physics major, this has been a horrible mistake.

But despite those thoughts, I stayed in the class because I still thought drawing might be fun, and soon enough I found myself starting to enjoy drawing and actually liking of some of my pieces. The week after that first day, my study drawings were hung in the front of the room. In my mind, in comparison to the other student's mine were so bad and I walked in thinking oh goodness why why why is mine up there. But after listening to Professor Fick talk about what each drawing he had hung had to offer, I started to feel a just little better.

By the end of the semester I started working with charcoal for the first time and pushing values as I gained more confidence in what I had learned. I found this class a lot more enjoyable than I ever expected. I loved composing my final pieces, my criticisms became much more healthy and constructive, and I was less afraid to share what I created with others.

But the picture that I posted above doesn't mean to say that I now think that drawing is easy. Or that any art is easy.
What is does mean is that I think that you can gain skills in anything if you really put your mind to it and really practice. With an open mind and the will to work hard, anyone can create art that they can be proud of and want to share with others. I think that's the most important thing that I learned from this class and it's something that I'll take with me in my future classes at Duke. If I ever walk into a new class and feel the same discomfort I did in the beginning of this semester, I'll remind myself that not everyone can be an expert at everything right away and that all I can do is try my best and hope to gain something out of the experience.

The lessons I learned from drawing this semester go far beyond just drawing ability or developing an artistic style. The lessons that I learned about being more open and confident in the future are ones that I will take with me beyond this class and far into the future in my life.

So, as the picture says, anyone can be an artist, all you have to do is not be afraid to make some art.

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