Hello, I’m Keri Doolittle, an art student in Audrey’s weekly drawing classes. I’m so happy to have been invited to share with you my experiences and thoughts about learning to draw. I first took drawing classes from Audrey over 7 years ago. That very first class forever changed the way I see faces, and it opened up an entirely new set of experiences that I had only dreamed were possible.
Every week we students gather in art class to learn to draw realistically, but once you’ve spent a few weeks in class, you may notice that while art is the primary reason for being there, there are secondary benefits as well. We are trained individually to see and think as artists at our own paces and are encouraged to develop our own highly individual signature styles, but we also form a sort of community.
For some, art class is stress relief– a respite from obligations and technical, “left-brain” pursuits. Completely engrossed in our “work”, we lose track for a few hours of the happenings in our worlds outside of class. For others, drawing class is a challenge– proof to oneself that there is potential within for excellent artistic expression. Some students have a story, memory or event that inspires a drawing or painting. And while there’s plenty of quiet time to be completely lost in one’s own work, it’s during the occasional sharing of those thoughts and stories when we realize that although we range widely in age, and our levels of skill and challenges are different, a common thread runs between us.
For all of us, there’s a palpable feeling of triumph when we’ve successfully brought an image to life from the blank page. Understanding first-hand the difficulty of overcoming the left-brain dominance in order to draw realistically, fellow students give each other genuine and appreciated feedback on projects. We understand too that each person is most critical of his or her own work, and with encouragement from each other and our instructor, we learn to give our own work proper respect. We also regularly share a few laughs, because after all, we’re simply having a great time!
In last week’s class, student Elaine showed us a graphite drawing-in-progress of her father’s hands, and we listened to her tell the story that inspired it. Elaine’s dad was a lineman. When severe storms brought area power outages, his job restoring power would call him away from home for days. She told about how much he loved his work and how her dad is sure to love this drawing. She already has a touching and apt name for it, “He Brought Light in the Storm”.
Whatever my original reasons were for wanting to learn to draw, I have become addicted to drawing and attending art class for one simple reason: It’s my happy place.