When I woke up this morning, it was raining, and that almost immediately put me in a bad mood. I walked outside in my rain jacket, light-wash jeans and boots. Every step I took kicked water onto the back of my legs, and thus I was overall quite irritated. I hadn’t known anything about Claire Walker Leslie other than that she drew well, and so I had no particular excitement about being up at 7:40 am on the coldest and rainiest day of the week.
When the start of class finally rolled around and we met Ms. Leslie, she had a smile on her face, and that lightened my day just a bit, regardless of the awful weather. We went and walked back from the dining hall to Mr. Bremiller’s classroom in silence, making sure to take good note of our surroundings. When we got back to the classroom, we had to write about our observations. She prompted us with questions: were the clouds rising or lowering? Was there wind? How many different types of birds did you hear?
Although questions like this might have seemed easy to answer, they stumped me a little. I thought I had been paying attention, however I had no clue how windy it was or even what it meant for a cloud to be rising. So in all I learned to be more observant, to look not only at what is directly what is in front of you but also about what might not seem as obvious.
After our descriptions, we learned about drawing methods for our journals. We made blind contour drawings of trees (mine looked more like a monster than a tree) and other surroundings. We learned to label everything that we draw, and that you don’t have to be an artist to know how to make a gorgeous looking tree. We drew leaf buds, remembering to also give everything a scale. Often, Ms. Leslie reminded us to think like children as we drew, and to take excessive criticism out of our work.
When we went back outside, we drew more of our surroundings, from birds to trees to specific leaves to puddles on the ground. Even though I might not be ready for an ART444 project in drawing, I do know that I can capture moments that I want to during my nature walks with simple sketches, always keeping in mind that your attentiveness will get you further than the accuracy of your drawing skills.