When I was a child, I doodled a lot. My mom bought me a number of “How to Draw” books, one of which I distinctly remember being a “How to Draw Dinosaurs.” Apparently I was a big fan of dinosaurs as a kid.
At some point my mom began to enroll me in after-school art classes taught by a family friend. She figured that these classes would help me develop my “talent.” I recall her explaining to me that I should always keep on drawing because I was good at it, and it would be something that I could hold on to for a long time. I maintained these miscellaneous art classes for a couple years throughout kindergarten and elementary school, amassing a box full of artwork. However, I ended up quitting these classes before I got to middle school for a reason that I can’t currently recall. Maybe it was because I just did not like doing things my parents made me do (I quit playing piano roughly around the same time) or because I simply thought that sitting around and drawing was boring.
Those art classes in elementary school were the last time I ever picked up any drawing utensil with the goal of creating an art piece more extensive than a small sketch out of boredom until this semester. (However, I do think that I went to a painting class for a few weeks some year in middle school because I have one painting that I produced at some point). Either way, as I grew older, I began to regret my prepubescent decision to quit art classes. Unfortunately I was already in high school at this point and high school art classes were supposed to be exceptionally time intensive. This was not something I was interested in juggling along with sports, homework, and other things my high school self spent his time doing. I let my desire for art rest for a while, figuring that hopefully there would be more chances down the road.
Fast forward a few years to the fall semester of my sophomore year at Duke. My friend was enrolled in a drawing class and sent me a few pictures of her work every now and then. I knew that I had space in my schedule for the spring semester and of course became interested. Some friends told me that they heard it was a lot of work, but I ultimately knew that I wouldn’t be able to resist this opportunity. I wasn’t sure what to completely expect coming in. I was a little worried that everyone in the class would be art kids who had taken art all through middle and high school and that I would be completely out of my league.
Luckily, the drawing class turned out more welcoming than I could have ever asked. Each weekly assignment was slightly different and always challenged me with something new. The class was also a sharp contrast to my other classes, a majority of which have been science classes. It was always peaceful for me to set aside my textbooks and whip out the drawing board or sketch pad for a few hours to work. I can say without a doubt that I’m glad I took this class and that I have enjoyed the whole experience and learned a lot. At this time, I’m contemplating a visual arts minor and am planning on taking an art class or two abroad in Rome next fall.