Monday, April 25, 2016

Drawing and I, Reflections by Amy Cheng

I grew up having tried out many different extracurricular activities throughout the years: ballet, piano, violin, tennis… However, drawing has remained my constant hobby since childhood and the only one that I continue to do semi-regularly even in college. When I was younger, my interest in drawing had started out with coloring books, which then evolved to drawing anime characters (such as Pikachu and Sailor Moon). As I got a little older, I began imitating framed artwork in my house and realized that artwork often made great, heartfelt gifts to my parents, friends and other family members. Drawings express a certain type of dedication—as it could often be extremely time-consuming, contain a personal touch from the artist’s unique style, and most importantly, drawings as gifts could be hung and displayed in the personal spaces as meaningful decorations. Drawing also has a therapeutic effect on me, as I remember during the stressful period of high school, I always looked forward to my Sunday art classes when the detailed stripes on a tiger or the back and forth motion of coloring required such intense focus and concentration that my mind would feel cleared afterwards. Looking at a finished piece of work often brought about a sense of accomplishment and joy. Hitting two birds with one stone, drawing is an activity that is both enjoyable and pleasant to the artist and for its function as an end product—be it decoration or to be part of a personal collection to be looked back on, reflected, and appreciated, 

I find art fascinating because there are so many different types of mediums as well. From the initial lead pencil and color pencils to color pastel, charcoal, watercolor, acrylics, ink, oil paint etc. I have always taken amateur art classes during the weekends or summer holidays while growing up, but most of these classes often just entail following teachers’ drawings step by step or imitating a print out of pictures under instruction or guidance. This studio drawing course has been the type of drawing class I have been longing to take for quite some time: drawing from still life and models, with an emphasis on observation and realistic portrayal. (I often would see similar set-ups in movies or French novels, which have a certain underlying atmosphere that I found intriguing.) I could feel my drawing abilities improve and my line work becoming less sketchy. However, I did enjoy the sketchbook assignments quite a bit, as it provided me the opportunity to draw anything I liked, which often involve magical, fantastical, and animated objects. I recall Professor Fick mentioning in the first class that this course was designed in hopes that the students could get a sense of how an artist would live; for sure I could say that I got a taste of what that entails. Artists would probably dedicate hundreds of hours to perform study drawings from multiple perspectives, testing out different types of tools, and also truly observing and studying the objects they are drawing—at least for the more traditional type of artistic style. Overall, this course had deepened my understanding of drawing, and I am glad to have this experience at some time within my college career.  

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