Drawing upon Thought 

Yesterday, I went to the first figure drawing class I am taking this term. I was initially nervous because I had heard that this particular instructor is a little demanding; and also, I felt somewhat nervous because I had been out of practice for some time, the type of classical practice a college art class seems to require. However, towards the end of the class, the instructor wandered over to where I was drawing and commented that my drawing was actually very good, the sort of compliment which makes me slightly embarrassed. I nervously smiled, laughed, and then tried to point out the drawings flaws: the composition wasn't very balanced, the model moved so the back look out of proportion, etc. The instructor countered each one, partly for encouragement.

Compliments, it seems, are always harder for me to take because I am always ready to receive criticism, deserved or not. And of course, criticism is always seems easier to believe, easier for me to mentally support, even if I know it is not necessarily rational. Not rational, just how it is. When I was ten years younger or so, I once overheard someone talking about receiving compliments and that it was generally considered polite to simply say "thank you" and leave it at that, advice which I remembered and took at this occasion.

Despite my various personal insecurities, I am looking forward to this class. It is not very often that I have the time (or, admittedly, the discipline) to explore my art in this way, a not-uncommon problem among artists and fellow art students. Plus, I am hoping to gain a few insights from the instructor about the larger context of the art business and world to somehow become more of a self-starter. I look around at the paintings that hang in the various small-time coffee shops and small galleries and have the thought, perhaps naive, that I could do something similar once I learned the "secret," learned the right techniques, and got introduced to "the scene."

In a connected way, I have been having a lot of thoughts about getting my master's degree in English again, to work towards becoming a college instructor. It is the other area in my life where I seem to have some ability, and have received enough compliments from others, mostly instructors, to make me think that I have serious potential. However, enough major obstacles remain to where these thoughts are not entirely developed: for example, I can't afford much more debt, the competition for those jobs are fierce, and the idea of facing 30 or so people per class is a little daunting, even if the students are all mostly young and have their own worries.

Anyway, these are the types of thoughts I have at night, when I am alone and the thoughts pour in like cool soaking water. I went to bed too early tonight (technically yesterday) because I was tired, so I woke up in the middle of the night and began to write this post. But I can feel the fingers of exhaustion slowly curving around my back muscles and crawling up to my neck. It's time for bed again. When I wake up, I begin work on my scholarship application. It is due by 5:00 p.m. and I still have personal statement to write. I highly doubt that much will come of this application because I already have a undergraduate degree. It is even possible that having that degree will automatically disqualify me for consideration, but there is nothing in the application that says it will for sure and I certainly won't get anything if I don't apply. Time for bed.

06 April 2007
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