I stop in the bathroom to wash my hands, catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror. The smudge of charcoal on my forehead has probably been there for at least two hours, since I’ve been in the studio for the last three. I smile at how typical it is and rub it off with a paper towel.
Out in the hallway, on the way to my locker, I look at the critique going on. They’re putting up work for the first time this semester, and I silently judge the quality and composition of the paintings just hung. Then I happily drop off my portfolio in my locker, glad to lighten the load before the walk back to my apartment. I stop in the back of the art building to visit some friends in the wood shop, all of them covered in sawdust that they throw on me while they show off the progress of their work.
I can’t believe this has become normal. It’s never where I expected to be, but now I can’t imagine anything different. Or anything I could love more.
Amidst all the overwhelming stress, challenge, and competition I’ve experienced in becoming an art student, there are moments of total joy like nothing else. Even the moments during critiques when I want to cry, when I cut my finger for the fourth time of the day on an X-Acto knife, when I just can’t get the perspective right on a drawing- It is completely worth it. Through it, I’m being refined.
Out of my three studio classes this semester, Life Drawing has been my favorite so far. Here’s a few, more to come. They’re not perfect, but neither am I. What matters is I’m growing daily, and surrounded by more inspiration than I know what to do with. And because of that I couldn’t be happier.