This class allowed me to experience a course unlike any other that I have taken in the past, as it was my first instructed drawing or art course that I have ever taken. As my mother is a talented artist and a former graphic designer for Villa Borghese, I have grown up being brought to various museums across the world since a very young age. In the beginning, I felt as though I was being dragged to these exhibits, being forced to see countless images that appeared identical to me. However, as I got older, I began to appreciate the subtleties that distinguish the works of all artists, world renowned and local.
As a freshman at Duke, I will admit that I signed up for this course simply to fulfill my Arts requirement, not knowing what to expect from the course or myself. However, this experience has been something far more than a had anticipated, and taking the time to focus and draw on a weekly basis gave me a respite from the chaos of academics and extracurricular activities going on in my life. From the very first sketch that I drew in the class, I realized that the effort and thought I had to put in to my work stemmed from a part of my mind that I had not used in a while, especially during the methodical and rigid curriculums of Duke mathematics. The creativity and imagination that I had to use in approaching and executing each sketch and drawing allowed me to have freedom in thought and what I chose to draw, something that is rare while pursuing a STEM major. I began to look forward to each chance to work on the weekly projects, and although I was quite severely lacking skill-wise towards the beginning of the course, I began to see the quality of my work improve over the course of the semester. In addition, the fact that I was working to complete an individual project every week instead of trying to grasp the concept of some obscure mathematical proof was very satisfying for me, as I could see the material progress develop as I put more and more time into each drawing. The structured topics in the first few weeks along with repetition in my sketchbook allowed me to become more comfortable with simple techniques such as shading and line weight, and by the time I had completed my final drawing, the work was drastically different from when I had first started the course. This class has significantly increased my level of interest in drawing and art in general, and I plan on exploring some of the many other courses that Duke provides in fine arts during my upcoming years at Duke.