In high school, I did an independent study in fine arts. All I really needed to do to get an A was show up and participate. But I had a bad case of senioritis, and didn’t. Instead, I preferred to vegetate in the grass outside or in the cafeteria, rationalizing to myself that my art would suck anyway. I didn’t get an A in the class, but more importantly, I will forever remember the disappointed and irritated look in my art teacher’s eyes. I’ve been haunted by deep-seated guilt ever since.
Therefore, when I scrolled through the Yale Arts Calendar website a few days ago and came across “Sketching in the Galleries” at the Yale Center for British Art, a prophetic shiver of excitement ran down my spine. I saw it as a chance at Redemption.
A regular Wednesday evening occurrence at the YCBA, “Sketching in the Galleries” is billed as an enjoyable opportunity to draw original works of art from the museum’s collections. I learned from this week’s event listing not only that would it be open to all skill levels, but also that drawing materials would be provided free of charge! There was nothing to lose — all I’d need to bring was my enthusiasm and willingness to learn. Moreover, artist and YCBA Assistant Curator of Education Jaime Ursic, ART ’02, would be on hand to offer valuable insights on drawing and observational techniques. Sealing the deal was an event photo featuring a healthy cluster of hip-looking students, heads all dutifully tilted at the same angle and hands clutching drawing paper and tools. Scarves and ankle boots and profound facial expressions abounded.
To make a long story short: I enlisted a couple of skeptical friends. I registered for the session. I received an email back confirming my registration. I whiled away the days leading up to the session in a dull pre-Oz haze. To my acute dismay, two out of three aforementioned friends bailed at the last second. And, finally, I arrived at the Center, clear-eyed and naïve as a newborn babe, ready to make Art. And here are the photos to prove it:
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. That might be the only substantial consolation I can offer to these stiff-upper-lipped artists now rolling around in their little British graves. But at least, Mr. Wildeman, I can say that I showed up! And that’s gotta count for something.