Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sydney Howland --Thoughts On Drawing

Drawing is a form of expression that allows each and every one of us to communicate to others our unique way of seeing the world.  We all see the same things, but interpret images individually, instinctive to our values, beliefs, and feelings. We all make personal connections to our surroundings, and drawing allows for a way of sharing what we see without having to put these experiences into words.

I enjoy drawing because it allows me to use a different part of my brain than that which I use during most of my other classes. I find the process of drawing both calming and awakening, because it lets one side of my brain rest while the other remains active. Drawing requires a specific type of consciousness, a kind that makes us hyper aware of our surroundings and how our figure fits into the world around us. I enjoy feeling this heightened sense of awareness, and think anyone can benefit from learning to see in this way.

I like that drawing offers choices. One might choose to create an accurate depiction of what they see, or imagine, through an attempt to recreate our own unique reality. Or, one might choose to produce an abstract representation of thoughts or feelings in a way that allows the viewer to react and respond as they see fit.

Drawing forces us to use our eyes. And then to question what our eyes see, and what they tell our brain. Drawing can take the form of positive space, or negative space, shifting in between what is full and what is empty. Often the emptiness is the hardest to portray, because our eyes confuse the lights with the darks and the objects we see versus what lies beyond.

I like that drawing can be free form. It can be as simple as closing your eyes and exploring the different way your hand can interact with the pencil and paper. I like that drawing can be mathematical. It can involve measuring and re-measuring exact distances in order to represent the empirical perspective.

I think it’s interesting to watch other people to draw, and to go to museums to study the work of other artists. I think each of us can learn something from studying art, and the history of art, and how the styles have changed over generations and across cultures. When I lived abroad in Spain, I took two art classes that held field trips to many of the famous museums. As a visual learner, the lessons held in places like The Prado and La Reina Sofia, had much greater impact than those in the classroom. I found that looking at art, and applying the concepts in our textbooks to the works in museums, increased my interest in the study of art and ultimately led me to enroll in drawing class at Duke.

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