Saturday, April 1, 2017

Thoughts on Drawing

My thoughts on drawing

When I initially tried to sign up for an art class here at Duke, I wanted it to be painting. I'm self-taught, but I have always been more of a painter, and I have always known my skill and preference was better suited to it; for one, I love color, but mostly, the lines and the picture that I have the ability to create are just different. I'm a significantly better painter than drawer.
A painting of mine from last year
 Because of this, I've always had a hesitation when it comes to drawing. I was hesitant about taking this class, and I'm hesitant to doodle in my other classes, and it's because I don't have the confidence with a pencil that I do with a brush. Maybe this is partially the fault of my preference; my favorite movement by far is impressionism. I love the way that lines and colors feather and blur, and because I find it so pleasing I think it's a style I subconsciously try to mimic, which is extremely difficult with a pencil or charcoal. Lines matter here, as we found out the second week of class. I've never had to worry much about lines before. All in all, this class was a lot like jumping into the deep end of a pool, and it was hard. I came in thinking I was a good artist, and I'm leaving thinking I was a lucky beginner.

This isn't to say I dislike drawing - I do not. I just haven't had as much time spent with it as I have with painting, and I think I'm in two different places with the two skills, but I think it's important to have that kind of awareness. The amount of time I spent this semester on my pieces has been significantly more than I ever thought it would be, but it has helped me to understand that good drawing takes just as much time as a good painting, if not more. This class has shown me the importance of lines, and has shown me how to mimic color within a single shade. It has shown me dimensional representation and the benefits of observation, then replication. This is something I find really interesting because it's exactly how I paint. I am not someone who can paint an imaginary image or put together a landscape from my mind's eye. I need to be looking at something, and when I spend the time with a subject or another artist's work, I'm always really happy with how my own work turns out. What I realized in my previous blog post's research is that this is exactly how many famous self-taught (and non-self-taught) drawers and painters learned as well. I thought this was an interesting connection, though I do sometimes take liberties with the pieces I create.
(Top) an Afremov and (bottom) my own version, worked from observation with some creative liberties

I think I have definitely improved in drawing this semester. I have learned skills I didn't realize I was missing, like for example how your brain can spatially trick you - I spent a half an hour fixing the edge of the table in our second in-class assignment (below). I have learned about weight, arrangement, editing, the value of an eraser, and time-management. Drawing is really hard at Duke. It's not an easy course, and it can be tough to balance things that deserve time when you don't have much time to give. But, I've really enjoyed it. I'm glad I got to take a class I wanted to for once, rather than one I had to.
I have learned a lot about drawing I didn't know I didn't know. I don't think it has made me like or dislike drawing any more than previously, but it has made me appreciate it far more than I did. Some of the pieces that have been put up as examples for assignments through the course of the semester have been so incredible I have questioned what I thought "good" art was. There are some amazing artists hidden at this school. I think this class has helped me significantly improve, as I personally am able to see a difference between my first few pieces and the pieces I can create now. But this class has also shown me how I can continue to improve, and I plan to.

No comments:

Post a Comment