Life is full of ironies if one is paying attention.
Over Thanksgiving, I registered for a drawing class at the Princeton Arts Council. The description of the class emphasized expanding on basic drawing skills and learning how to compose a piece of art from concept to completion.
It sounded challenging and appropriate for my current skill and confidence level. As luck (or fate) would have it, the class was cancelled and reminiscent of 3 years ago, I was offered the opportunity to attend a more advanced class as an alternative. Unlike 3 years ago, I accepted the alternative option without hesitation.
When I received the email that the class had been canceled, I couldn’t help but think back to the first day of my drawing class three years ago and how hesitant and uncertain I was.
What I didn’t realize then, but I know now is that art is all about lines. To quote a friend of mine, “Line quality is a big element in art and it is elementary and needs consideration. Even if ignored, line quality should be a considered choice.”
To be honest, my first drawing blew me away – I seriously had no idea that anything like this was hiding inside of me. It took me weeks to complete, but in the end I was amazed at what came out of my pencils.
What strikes me now, looking back at it is the lack of certainty in the lines. They’re technically correct and the shading is really quite nice, but the lines lack confidence and purpose.
Contrast the drawing of the sunflower with a recent doodle, a surrealistic or maybe fanciful tree:
The lines are strong and considered.
I debated about whether or not the drawing was finished. The black and white lines were mesmerizing, but it didn’t feel “done.”
The lines were ready to be embellished with color.
Ironically, the description of the class I will be starting on Tuesday includes this:
Color is not just a “pretty embellishment”, but has a profound significance and role in our visual perception and, subsequently, is a powerful tool in our art making. Understanding these functions of color is the focal point of this class.
The class is geared toward “students with experience in drawing and painting.”
It’s clear that I’ll be taking a class with students far more advanced than me, but on the other hand, I’ve learned a lot about “drawing the line” and my recent experiences tell me that it’s more than OK to let those “lines” take you to a new place.