Saturday, April 23, 2016

Thoughts on Drawing

I grew up surrounded by art - my mother paints, and our house is decorated with her oil landscapes. We've always had an "arts and crafts room," where we would spend rainy days cutting up construction paper and doodling with crayons. My favorite kind of museums are art museums, and I've been to many over the course of my 21 years. I learned about art history through these museum visits, often with a 'guided tour' of sorts by my mother, and art classes at school. I always took art in school, until my high school curriculum started picking up. The last art class I took before this Art 199 last spring at Duke was during my freshman year of high school, which was in 2008. It had been 7 years since I took a class.

I think I forgot about how fulfilling making art is until I studied abroad. My host mom, Carmen, was an artist and taught dibujo natural (figure drawing) classes on Saturdays. I attended a few of these and was reminded of how much I enjoy playing with lines to make a shape, and experimenting with different forms to reflect how I see an object in space. Carmen's classes also helped me see how beautiful the human body is, regardless of its shape, size, or age. I saw the model's bodies as works of art in themselves, and drawing them taught me to appreciate the diversity of beautiful bodies.

I wanted to continue drawing when I came back to Duke. It helped me relax, see the world in a different way, and feel more in tune with myself. Unfortunately, personal circumstances became overwhelming during my semester back at Duke, and I had to drop Art 199. I planned to take the course again in the future.

In choosing classes for my senior spring, Art 199 was an obvious choice. I knew I would need an outlet for when the other parts of my Duke life, and the fact that I was graduating in a short time, became overwhelming, and Art 199 could be that outlet. The first half of the course was familiar, and I found repeating the line drawings and shading a little tedious, to be honest. Having completed all the assignments now, I can say that my favorite of mine was the negative drawing. I like simple subjects, and the nature of the negative is to emphasize the simplicity of objects as a series of lines. My drawing featured a theme of flowers, and I enjoyed the contrast of the delicate lifeforms in white with the surrounding dark shadow of the charcoal.

Through this class, I have learned that I don't like realistic drawings. I'm more impressionistic with my lines, and I had trouble trying to make everything exact in the final drawings. I enjoy more freedom with my style, and I had trouble keeping my attention when working for a long time to make a drawing more realistic. I think this shows in my last drawing, the fiction one, where I use a more impressionistic line with the charcoal and used completely unrealistic subjects of dinosaurs and Godzilla.

Despite my distaste for exactness, I believe it is essential to train as we did in Art 199 to know how to draw. I cannot develop a style without knowing the basics, so I appreciate taking the class. I look forward to continuing to draw on my own, and believe I will continue to do so as a way to appreciate the world around me and center myself.

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