I like drawing because of how it has changed how I noticed things around me. I started to see how the light reflects off railings, my arm, leaves, clouds...just about everything. I like how I can start to predict what values will look realistic, and see them come together to give an object volume. It probably stems from my science background, but it is amazing to me that we can trick our brains like that. I know drawings are on a flat piece of paper, but I understand what it means when I look at it because of value use. It's just our interpretation of light. Now when I walk under trees, the details in how the light interacts with the leaves is incredible. I used to see a simple tree as a whole structure before, but I understand it as a tall object with tiny leaves, thick branches, shadows, etc, now. Learning how to draw has allowed me to appreciate objects around me and how they relate to each other in space. I notice many new details. It isn't just looking at something and noting what it is, but rather looking at an object and appreciating what makes it look as it does. I hadn't done that until I started drawing this semester.
On the other hand, drawing has been EXTREMELY challenging for me because of this abstractness. Even when I try to draw "what I see," I feel like my mind takes over in trying to predict what it should look like on paper. When this happens, the lines feel empty to me. I can tell they aren't coming together into what I want, but I have to keep going so that I can figure out what would work the next time around. It feels frustrating because I want it to be simple (and it is)...but my own mind prevents that. I have to get into a drawing "flow" to really start a project because of this. I cannot work in spurts at all, which has also been difficult as it is hard to find gigantic chunks of time where I can draw. Also, I always found that drawings never felt finished to me, but adding more details in the background made me worry that I was going to mess it up. To get better, I know I have to push myself to go for it anyway. So, drawing has challenged my approach to work on multiple levels--time management, confidence, and giving into the drawing (to name a few). Sometimes I had to just go with the moment when I felt like drawing, and I couldn't wait or put that moment off or else I'd lose the inspiration.
Overall, I hadn't drawn before this class, but now I will continue drawing/sketching on weekends. I like how aware I have become of my surroundings, and the mental challenge that drawing provides. It is a wonderful contrast to the science classes I have taken. I have learned as much about drawing as I did about how I function in tackling a project. Because I was committing to long drawing sessions, free from distraction, it was one of the few times at Duke where I had to truly pause and be "in the moment."
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