Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Drawing: Ideation versus Representation

I first encountered drawing at Duke with architecture in mind. For these modern architects, drawings were not just images but rather the distillation of their ideas into images of buildings. I grew to love their ability to convey ideas. Looking at the sketches and drawings of master architects, I saw how every element from the drawing’s large-scale composition to its small-scale lines existed to contribute to an overall meaning. However, when starting this semester, I couldn’t concern myself with meaning.
Staring at that blank page for our first study drawing daunted me. The permanence of my future lines would define my drawings in perpetuity. Did I even have the time to make it through a full drawing? But through those first study drawings, my pile of eraser shavings remedied my hesitation. I gave into the paper and found drawing to be relaxing as I meticulously detailed the variations in shading across an orange juice bottle and gave vitality to the distinct lines of a coffee cup. These studies in representation built my confidence as a drawer and altered my perspective on the effort it takes to represent the physical world.
            The theme of representation continued throughout my sketching. I had always doodled, forming lines from my pencil in a random fashion. These doodles populate my class notes and readings and can create fantastic informal images, but rather than representation, this process reflected ideation, the formation of ideas, as my head would draw aimlessly until I could place a narrative on top of my image. But this frustrated me; these sketches and doodles failed to reify anything on my mind and only demonstrated my ability to mentally connect dots and lines on a paper. Around the beginning of the semester, rather than continue with my meanderings on paper, I turned my drawings towards the task of conscious representation.
            In the final drawings, my ideas have guided my lines. Constructing a narrative pushed me to guide the lines on my paper, giving some forms weight and others life. Most of all, the overarching narrative of these drawings challenged my indecision. Drawing simple objects at the beginning of class may have built my skills as a drawer, but the task of choosing a final topic lets your own persona come to fruition.  My final choices of subject gave my artistry the purpose of representing my thoughts. While placing lines and forms on a paper is a physical task, the mental process of representing objects, ideas, and persona through drawing is a skill that I hope to cultivate throughout the future. 

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