Monday, April 24, 2017

Thoughts on Drawing – Ali Goldsmith

I'm the first to admit that I'm a perfectionist. I like straight lines, carefully arranged books on my desk and struggle to turn in an assignment that I'm not 100% proud of. For this reason, this drawing class has been tough. No matter how hard I try, my drawings are always a work in progress.

Though I have always loved sketching and doodling, it has been more of a private hobby. In high school, I enjoyed sitting with a sketchbook and a thin tipped black pen and making patterns or simple line drawings. Here are some examples:

These drawings were abstract and completely under my control. If I didn't like something I created, I ripped out the page and started over. 

However, this class has forced me to think in a different way. At first, shading drove me crazy because I couldn't seem to get the values right. For my shading assignment, I tried to experiment with charcoal but ended up hating the final product. I thought it looked messy and unrealistic. Although my first version took me several hours, as a stubborn and irrational perfectionist, I just couldn't turn it in. So, I started over using pencil and spent a late night trying to get the shadows and composition right. I didn't like that version either. The next day, I turned in both and explained my frustration. 

After the feedback I got from Professor Fick that day, I stopped scrapping the work I thought was a little off. Instead, I began to erase, edit and adjust my drawings. Although I wasn't always completely satisfied with the final product, looking at the big picture rather than getting hung up on little details helped me create more interesting work. My favorite drawing from this semester, which was an empirical perspective of the stairway leading down from Perkins and Bostock, was ironically probably also the messiest. There are very few white spaces (which is a huge departure from the drawings above), making the scene seem more dynamic. 

When I found out that we had the opportunity to edit our drawings before submitting them for our final portfolio, I was a bit tempted to throw away my shading assignment and start over (Don't worry, I didn't!) But, after a few months of this class I feel much more confident about my work and have come to embrace its imperfections. I now know that my favorites of my classmates' drawings are always expressive and dynamic due to a range of values and textures. I am grateful for all of the feedback I've received from both Professor Fick and the class – this class has really helped me work outside of my comfort zone! 

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