Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Drawing at Duke

I love art, but I have found that I dislike drawing. I have always had the best of relationships with painting, and considered myself most creative, expressive, and liberated when working with paints and a canvas. I took Drawing 199 because I thought having a drawing background would give my paintings more strength and character. I think the main reason that I have a distaste for drawing is that I find it infinitely more difficult to express myself. For me, art has always been about originality and freedom of expression; I have found I simply cannot do that with pencil or charcoal. I think this disparity between drawing and painting arises from lack of patience and movement of the medium. With acrylic paints, the medium dries very quickly and forces the painter to blend and adapt to the paint as it dries. I love working with paints because it is fluid and organic, the paint brush becomes almost an extension of my arm and I find myself lost in the blending of colors and shapes. Drawing is so much more precise and meticulous in comparison to acrylic paints.

I have found Drawing 199 difficult for me because, as my first Visual Arts class at Duke, it is much more restrictive than any other art class I have taken before. In high school, I had the same art teacher for all 4 years. He taught me from studio art to painting to AP Drawing, and he had a profound impact on my work. He preached that art takes time, art has no deadlines, and art should be a reflection of what and who you love. I know this same lax environment cannot be replicated at Duke, and of course I understand that there must be deadlines in this course for students to receive a grade that reflects their work and effort; however, this was my first class where art had strict deadlines, and the deadlines came before creative expression. I was also surprised by the number of still-lifes and little room we had for artistic independence in the beginning of the semester.

Overall, I have found my experience with drawing at Duke helpful. Although I cannot indulge and lose myself in my work the way I can with paints, I have come to appreciate the patience and precision that drawing demands. I think that this course will help me in my future endeavors with art at Duke and in the distant future because I have gained valuable skills about persistence, endurance, attention to detail, and patience. I think the beautiful thing about any art class- whether you enjoy it or not- is that you will always walk away from the class with invaluable new skills and abilities that will help you in not only your art, but also in your academic and social life.

A Relaxing Chore

I have a very clear love-hate relationship with drawing. On one hand, drawing relaxes me and does not feel like work. I can draw for hours at a time while sitting in front of the tv or listening to a good podcast or some music. I have done this already for this class many times, mainly on Saturdays or Sundays when I am playing catch up on that week's assignment. On the other hand, drawing can be very stressful when burdened by deadlines and grades, something inevitable in college. When pressured to produce quality drawings week after week, drawing becomes stressful and unenjoyable in a sense. However, it would be unfair to blame this on being enrolled in a drawing class, because the truth is I probably would not be drawing as much if it was not for the class. College just is not an ideal time for me to draw. With so many things available here at Duke and so much work and activities to keep up with, taking the time to draw seems to be too costly.

After placing drawing in such a bad light, I should clarify: drawing is still enjoyable, just not always practical. The engineer in me wants to be the most productive and efficient person possible, and that inevitably involves prioritizing tasks and leisure time. Unfortunately, in a college setting, that optimization pushes drawing out of the picture.

At the end of the day, however, I will continue to draw. I used to draw when I was younger and freer from responsibilities and I know I will keep drawing when I am older, but for now, in this very fast paced and stressful part of my life, I must take a short break.