Monday, April 20, 2015

Rachael Clark--Thoughts on Drawing

Blog Assignment #2

Sometime in high school art stopped being joyful for me.  I decided that I would never again take another graded art class.  Art had become by far my most time consuming and stressful class and I got so caught up in the grade that I started losing my ability or desire to create anything.  Also, high school art critiques were a fairly brutal experience. We had quarterly critiques, where we stood in front of the class with all of our artwork and got “constructive criticism,” which tended to fall on the critical rather than constructive side.   I would go in feeling really proud of the pieces I had worked on and come out feeling mediocre. I completely stopped drawing for two years. The only artwork I did were these incredibly detailed abstract but perfectly symmetrical line drawings with micro-fine pens. Making these mandala type drawings became almost a form of meditation for me. Though my line drawings were relaxing, they did not challenge my creativity—I could draw pattern after pattern without actually expressing anything.
My junior year at Duke I started painting again for the first time in a long time. A friend had given me a set of oil paints as a gift, and so my explored oil paints for the first time. I actually really enjoy oil painting, though my roommate is not a big fan of the smell of turpentine and paint thinner.  I got back into painting but skipped over drawing fundamentals. It has been good to practice drawing again, especially since I know it will help me improve my painting.
My first oil painting
This class was a struggle for me at first but over all I have really enjoyed it. The first day of class it was almost physically painful to draw the table from the still life. I had gone so long without sketching that it was frustrating trying to draw something relatively simple, and feel like it was out of reach. Overall, I am really glad I took an art class because it helped me get over that hurdle and get back into something that I love.

Current oil painting projects--I quite enjoy mixing bright colors.

This class has been interesting because it is the first time I have created such large pieces. I am also not used to drawing from life. I have gotten pretty good at drawing from photographs, especially faces, but do not have as much practice drawing from real life.  I really enjoy carrying my sketchbook around, at this point I probably need to duct tape it together, and feel much more confident in my ability to draw from life instead of photographs.  I have also gotten a little bit faster at sketching through the regular practice.  I think I will always be a slow drawer but it is nice to at least get a little bit quicker.

Throughout the semester I really enjoyed seeing other people’s artwork and distinctive styles.  I find it fascinating to see how people draw, sketch and shade very differently.   I also particularly enjoyed our last assignment.  It was the first time I really explored using charcoal and it was fun to make something more whimsical.  I want to revisit some of the drawings I made and make a series from them. I think it would be really cool to do a whole set of drawings of the Chapel for example, of different sizes and angles and perspectives.   Looking forward, I also would love to  get better at drawing the human body, particularly faces. 
Drawing from a photo--My face is a little bit cross-eyed and chubby but not too bad. I find drawing myself the most difficult, probably because it is more difficult to be objective.

I want to be able to convey emotion and movement in a drawing. Earlier in the semester I picked Degas for my artist blog post because I love his ability to express motion in his drawings/painting of dancers.  Overall, I have regained my joy for art and am excited to keep sketching and drawing and painting. I am also relieved that drawing is a little bit like ridding a bicycle. Even though I felt pretty rusty starting out, things came back to me pretty quickly. 

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