Thursday, December 8, 2016

Thoughts on Drawing

Art has always had a role in my life. While my drawing skills are not the sharpest, I have had much exposure to creating, enjoying and analyzing art.

In elementary school, we had monthly Art Appreciation sessions where a student’s parent would facilitate a conversation with students about a famous work of art. I fondly remember having surface level discussions about da Vinci, Van Gogh and Picasso. I also enjoyed these events because my mom often led them.

My mom’s house is filled with art. Paintings of ballerinas or the seaside she made from before my sister and I were born. Figurines she made of Madonna and Child before I was born to channel her emotional desire to have a second child. Ceramic mugs, plates and bowls she made and dedicated to my sister and I. The list goes on and on. And they weren’t just in the house, I helped her as she displayed her works at local exhibits. From the Festival of India to small galleries in the NoDa district of Charlotte, my mom’s works have been all over the city. Such experiences have made art in general and drawing specifically a very personal and emotionally powerful tool for me.

One of the main reasons I chose to take this course was that I missed being creative on a regular basis. Last semester, I went to the Arts Annex a few times just to paint and destress. I thoroughly enjoyed it and knew that I would hate myself if I didn’t take advantage of more artistic opportunities that Duke offers.

I had some exposure to art via Duke’s in my FOCUS program last year. Oriented around Medieval and Renaissance History, I analyzed Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks. Seeing his sketches and appreciating the intersection between art and myriad other fields gave me great joy. Da Vinci treated humans as a microcosm of the Earth. This connectedness between humans and their surroundings is one of the most important values to me. This inspired me to connect my interest in environmental policy to my drawings in this course.

Such deeper level analyses of art have become important to me largely thanks to my father. I remember going to museums with him and my mom for most of my life. Whether it was to the Mint Museum in Charlotte or the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi, I’ve always been able to have a nice conversation discussing the underlying social, political, philosophical or comical themes that a work of art may have.

Putting such elements into my pieces was something important to me. Although I struggled with many technical aspects of drawing, I feel that this course allowed me to grow tremendously. Looking at the final piece I made, I know for a fact that I would never have been able to make such a work before this course. I’m thankful that Trinity requires students to have Arts, Literature and Performance classes to graduate. This course helped me gain confidence in my own work while also having built in time for creative expression. I look forward to continuing to draw–whether that be doodles in notes, weekly sketches, or creating a larger piece– for years to come.

This course has taught me to be more patient. One of my least favorite aspects of drawing is that you cannot simply move your pencil as quickly as possible and expect to produce a quality piece. Taking the time to slow down, think about what I want to make, and determine the most effective way to put my thoughts onto paper was important in this course.

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