Monday, April 28, 2014

I have mixed feelings about drawing at Duke, as I do with most everything here. This was the class I was most nervous for.  Academics I knew, but I'd spent my life convincing myself that I don't have an artistic side.  And maybe I don't have a good artistic side, but I found a part of myself that found it very relaxing to sit quietly in a room with 12 other people and know that they were seeing the same thing - almost - as you, and yet were probably experiencing the moment quite differently.  I loved finding proportions (I have a geometric mind), but I'll never forget the moment I felt like I'd shaded something almost well!  I loved the class when we went outside and did a landscape, and the Nasher visit was as strange and fun and informative as I thought it would be.
So my mixed feelings don't come from the class.  But I went through a rough semester, got behind on my drawings, didn't have the energy to do them, and rarely went to class.  The weekly assignments became a source of stress, and that was when I really came to realize how much effort it takes to draw.  I don't mean because I was sick, just in general.  When you tell someone you're taking drawing, it sounds so light and fun and easy.  And it can be light and fun, but it's certainly not easy.  I have a whole new level of respects for artists of all sorts.  Even though I technically knew how hard the worked, how much they practiced, I generally used to admire their talent beyond anything else.  I still do, but I can barely imagine the heart and soul that goes into being really good.  So, interestingly, I think I will say that this class challenged me the most this semester.  I took English and Polisci and Econ, but those I had at least a passing familiarity with.  I knew the type of work that went into them.  But it was drawing, which sounds so innocuous, that gave me some of the most pleasant and simultaneously hardest memories of the year.
Thanks, Bill.

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