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The Great Rebuild: Drawing Class Day 1

Learning from Others

One of the last complaints I made to Mom was about how I was hesitant to take another drawing class. My previous two classes had burned me pretty badly. Her simple response in true Mom fashion was, "You’re going to have to get over that.”

In the moment, it stung. And it actually almost put a shadow on what would be my last day with her. (Luckily it did not.) But even in that moment I knew that what she said was true. What she said is even more now true that she is gone. I have to rebuild all that was lost when we lost her. On an emotional level. On an artistic level. On a technical resource level. Any and all of my drawing questions all I had to do was pick up a phone and call her. (Oh how I wish I had her guidance for noses.)

As part of the rebuild, I’m taking a drawing class. This is an 11-week beginner class and it just happened to be starting (and still had spaces) a week after a random internet search lead me to the Portland studio aptly named The Drawing Studio.

I have been around the sun enough times now to know my warning signs for teachers. I cannot handle disorganized teachers especially if they are already non-linear thinkers. If I get even whiff of disorganization, I should quit immediately because the experience will do more damage than it’s worth. The subject matter of the lass is a long second compared to how I prepared I feel the teacher is and so much of that has to do with their teaching style.

Co-owner and instructor Phil sat at the front and explained the cancellation policy. He also explained the reasons he thought we should or should not drop the class. The number #1 reason he said he would wholeheartedly suggest you drop the class is if his teaching style drove you crazy. “I won’t even be offended,” he said.

I kind of wanted to hug him.

This will not be a classic drawing class in many ways. The class focuses mostly on enjoying the process of mark making. That might not be in any of the official literature but I’m guessing it’s at least part of the philosophy behind his approach.

And today was a lot of just putting marks down. Big marks. Small marks. Angry marks. Happy marks. Any and all marks we could think to create between our graphite sticks and our vinyl erasures.

Hands down it was the best, most present moment art making experience I’ve probably ever had in my life. Pure creating no judgements.. And it was in a room filled with people.

And it’s exactly what I needed. My goal for the class will probably be to try and get to a place where the process is enjoyable and still of criticism, and practice staying there. And then once I get back to my own quiet, studio, practice staying in that same mind set for my own work.

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