Did I ever tell you about the time I failed my art class?
Well fail is a strong word I guess,
the teacher was kind and just entered it into the records as an
Which is true. I never intended for it to be official and I definitely would call it a case of withdrawing which is ironic since the class was DRAWING 101.
It was my freshman year at BYU and I was eager to find out what I was really good at.
I have artists in my family...my uncle, my mom, my sister....I am sure that there are more.
I just knew that if I took this class I would be able to join their ranks.
Possibly a great artist someday.
When you are 18 you have an unlimited supply of "what if's" to explore.
I loved buying the paper, charcoal pencils and kneadable erasers down in the basement of the bookstore. It was just a matter of time before I would blossom into other mediums.
I went to the class and set up my easel with all my new supplies particularly enjoying the eraser that reminded me of a gray silly putty. There was a very cute guy at the easel next to mine with a wonderful head of dark curly hair and a really great smile....
This class was promising.
There sat piled in front of us a still life.
I can't remember what it was but it was not colorful or interesting.
Nothing that I would ever choose to draw.
The teacher talked about the light and shadows and showed us different techniques.
And then it was our turn to apply our charcoal to the paper.
I sketched and erased and sketched and erased.
It was no use. The objects I drew were flat and one dimensional.
I tried to look for the light and shadow that everyone kept talking about but I just didn't get it.
I spent a lot of time staring at the object to see what was so obvious to everyone else in the room.
I just didn't see anything except the object as a whole.
Mr Cute Art Guy as I affectionately called him did see what he needed to.
His drawings even from the beginning looked like they could come off the page and rest in your hands.
He would sometimes try and tell me what to look for but when I would try to apply the knowledge there was something that was missing in the connection between my brain and my hand.
I attended all semester and sat next to Mr. Cute Art Guy watching his pictures come to life while mine remained frustrated scribbling.
I often felt that he looked over when I wasn't watching and shook his head with pity.
As cute as he was I was starting to despise him for his ease and talent.
I dreaded the twice weekly chore of taking the next group of stuff piled on the table and making it come alive. I couldn't believe that not an ounce of the artistic gene had filtered down to me.
Finals week came with all of the stresses that seem to overwhelm a young college student and make them feel as if their life is truly harder than everyone else's.
There was of course no cramming for the drawing exam ahead of me but I dreaded it nonetheless.
I walked into class and took my place at the easel next to Mr. Cute Art Guy and exchanged our usual pleasantries.
The teacher lifted up the sheet which covered the still life which was to be our final test of our drawing skills or the lack thereof.
I looked at that pile of junk for about 15 minutes while my classmates sketched away.
Mr. Cute Art Guy's drawing was already shaping up to be a masterpiece worthy of hanging in a museum or at the very least on his mothers refridgerator.
And that's when it happened.
I stood up and walked out.
Clutching only my backpack and kneadable eraser in my fist.
And I felt free.
Free that is until my report card and grade point average reflected my "stand for liberty" moment. I could have literally drawn a stick figure on the paper defiantly waving a pencil and erase in hand cursing the light and the shadows and I would have passed the class.
But I didn't.
And instead of the F that I probably should have earned I got a UW.
Ironically I found my passion.
I can't draw anything but I know about light and shadow and what makes a good picture.
It has become almost an obsession.
I wish I had known which was the right class for me to take.
I am sure that I could have shot circles around Mr. Cute Art Guy.
P.S. All of these photos are from my road trip to Utah I took in June. I am going again this week. I am taking a friend with me. Actually it is the pigs friend. Look for the photos that are sure to follow. I can't wait to show you.