Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Drawing Reflection - Alessandra Zhang

Drawing & Life

When I first think about my feeling for drawing, I recall the word “freedom”. I enjoy the feeling of throwing everything behind and pulling all my emotions and ideas onto the blank paper.  To me, drawing is more than creating lines and shades, but a unique way of representing myself. The following aspects are the most important things I learn and enjoy from drawing.

1.     I started to draw when I was 4. My grandfather is a painter and I still remembered he first taught me to draw a panda with black ink. I was amazed by his hands and fingers creating beautiful lines like streams flowing down the creek. Then the ink started to spread out a little bit around the edge of the lines and this was the most amazing moment I have ever seen as a young kid. Unsurprisingly, I started to draw under my grandfather and spent most of my childhood time doing Chinese calligraphy, line drawing and Chinese ink painting. These experiences play a very important role in my life, since it exposes me to one of the most important heritages of my Chinese culture. I leant how to use different amounts of water to deliver emotions and atmosphere in ink painting and this technique is very different from the Western and modern ways of drawing. This semester, with pencil and charcoal, we created realistic paintings with only black and white. While this reminds me of Chinese ink painting that I used to do when I was little, it is totally different yet. But I really enjoy using the black and white, either ink or pencil, to create things with multi-dimension. Attached is my favorite Chinese ink painting by Baishi Qi – it is a perfect combination of lines, shades, and smudges. With ink, it is very hard to produce edges, yet this drawing renders energy to the shrimps.

2.     I draw everyday in my diary and it is my way of writing a diary. I doodle a lot and I find it very fascinating to represent all my emotions and reflections with images and notations. Looking back to my diary, I sometimes will even giggle and laugh at the words and shapes. With images, there’s more story to tell and the doodles encompass a sensation that words can never deliver.

3.     Drawing creates me and polishes me from different facets. From Durer to Andy Warhol, I am fascinated about art history and my interest exposes me to a variety of masterpieces of arts and a plethora of knowledge from religion to modernism. Besides knowledge, drawing cultivates creativity and patience in me. On the blank paper, I have the chance to create everything I dare to imagine and this gives me even much more courage to be creative and risky in my daily life.

4.     Drawing creates a mind space for me to calm down and meditate. Every time when I open up my sketch book and turn on the music, I forget about everything. In psychology, there is a term called the zone. The zone is a state of being fully absorbed into the present - the here and now only. I believe that drawing is the zone for me. I get fully absorbed into every second of creating lines, shades and patterns. Sometimes I get lost at Duke since there are always so many things going on and so many pressure, but drawing always pull me back and direct me to the right path by instilling me the power of self-reflection and confidence. Either sitting in the studio or in my room in front of the drawing board, I start to forget about the irritation and become patient and calm. I really enjoy this emotion transformation that drawing brought to me and I think it is a very essential part of my life.

5.     When I grow up, I start to focus on comics and watercolor. The reason I love comics is that I think cartoon is a very fun way of combining my life, my ideas and a sense of humor together. I am passionate about watercolor since I think it is kind of similar to Chinese ink painting in terms of the use of water as a medium, yet I am more appealed to watercolor since it has a variety of colors. I love watercolor for its elegant feeling and its ability of arousing emotions.

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