Saturday, April 18, 2015

Mengyun Lu - Drawing is a meditation

Since I was a little kid, I never had any patience for drawing. Sitting for hours on end to sketch out intricate details of fruits and sculptures seemed overly tedious, and I often entertained myself by licking lollipops and making loud burps while my hand dragged lackadaisically across an absent sketch. The subsequent scorching glare from my art teacher only turned me further away from drawing, though my interest in art never ceased.

Art for me became crafts, colors, and anything new, creative, or fun. However, I stopped sitting down and really committing myself to long periods of drawing. And so it was that I was flabbergasted when I found myself in a swamp of rather time consuming drawing assignments this semester. Having taken almost all engineering and science classes for the past four years, I had originally planned for drawing to be an easy, fun, last-semester-of-senior-year sort of class. As such, when the first couple of assignments made their appearances, the time and dedication involved were unwelcome, to say the least.

I preferred the quicker sketchbook drawings to assignments that I eschewed because of my subconscious retreat from the hours I knew I would have to put in before I even started. Whenever I set aside time to work on a drawing, I found it hard to sit still while repressing the urge to move around and do something more physical, from playing a little tune on the piano to chasing my little brother all around the house.

The predictable result of this restlessness is far too many late night races to complete an assignment on time, which sapped the fun out of the drawing process itself. As the semester progressed, I realized that I have yet to make a drawing that I would be proud to call my own. With the help of music, I started forcing myself to draw without outside distractions and focus solely on the drawing.

As it turns out, spending those extra minutes, whether to correct that crooked line or add more detailed shading to that empty spot, made a world of difference. Though the final drawing itself may not be considered great in artistic standards, it did become something I'm proud of, something I wouldn't have believe myself capable of creating at the beginning of the semester. For me, drawing does not work as a careless hustle, but rather a conscientious meditation.

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