Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Reflections on Drawing at Duke

What an exciting semester it has been!  There have been rallies, parties, recitals, projects, and drawing(?)!  For the past four years I have been loaded up with technical engineering classes that pushed me to the edge of my critical thinking abilities.  While baffling at times, I am not sure I ever felt as stumped as I did on occasion in my first art class at Duke: "What on earth am I going to draw for this assignment?"  I will admit, the first assignment had me in a panic as I fumbled to find anything in my room that looked like it could be art--but that's kind of a point in itself.  We are surrounded by art and anything can be viewed artistically if you approach it with the right mind set.  Those dirty shoes in the corner? Art. The bottle of spirits behind your books?  That can be art, too.

For me, it was not a sudden change.  Over the weeks, coming to class, sketching in our sketchbooks, practicing for the assignments...  Somewhere in the middle of all of this drawing, my mind just opened up and re-accepted the artistic inspiration that had been latent since elementary school.  By the time the perspective drawing came around, I knew what I wanted to study!  Perhaps almost comically, my skills had not caught up to my enthusiasm and I still managed to struggle with drawing what my eyes saw and not what my mind told me would exist.  My final submission for this class is far from perfect, but it captures some of the things that excite me most, and feels like a marked improvement from the form I had when I was going into this semester.

Art was my zen experience in a bustling senior year and I am happy I was able to enjoy it with my buddy Timo.  The change of pace from working on a computer to grabbing a sketchbook and watching the rain fall outside my window was functionally therapeutic.  If I could do it all again, I think I wouldn't change much.  Perhaps I could have made more time to sketch and really explore some new drawing territory, but given my schedule and drawing history, I am still thrilled to walk away with what I have.  I hope picking up the supplies on the 30th motivates me to use them and continue to have dialogue with my artistic self even after I set out on a new adventure as a Duke grad!

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