For the past several years I’ve been looking at the art classes and descriptions in continuing education brochures. Each time I read the list I wonder – should I take art journaling? Beginning watercolor? Digital photography? Polaroid emulsions? Drawing? Painting? There are so many choices. And then the other questions – is the course in the evenings or on weekends? Does it interfere with my other obligations? Is the learning site convenient?
After (too many) years of dithering I finally took belly dancing classes and learned to knit socks, two of the things on my “I want to learn to . . .” list. (I always think of this list as my secular version of Torah Lishma – learning for its own sake; learning for the sheer simple joy of learning. Although socks may not qualify, since I end up with a useful product. But then again, considering the cost, both financial and time-wise, of knitting my own socks it is hard to believe I actually do this in order to end up with a product. But I digress . . .)
This year I finally signed up for “Fundamentals of drawing.” Two hours a week for eight weeks I am learning about forms (cones, cylinders, circles and cubes,) value, depth, light, shading, and texture. Last week we spent the entire time working on a single drawing of eggs. I had three eggs – one white, one beige, one brown. There was a light shining on them. My task was to draw the tones and shadows that made up these eggs on a table. The goal was to have the eggs defined, not by an outline drawn on the paper, but by the lights and darks that made up their shapes.I’ve begun to carry a sketchpad and graphite pencils and I find myself making drawings at odd moments. It’s challenging and my drawings often don’t come out quite the way I intended. They don’t always look like what they are representing. Do my eggs look like eggs? They did to me and to the others in the class. We were amazed at the differences in our drawings. Our eggs were all different; we all focused on different things in our drawings, but each of us could look at what the others had drawn and see the eggs in the values of light and dark that made up our drawings.