Yesterday I was minding my own business in the canteen line, with no thought in my head other than coffee, when I bumped in to Glen Dunn, the man responsible for the creation of the VIRAL LAB at the polytechnic. In less than a minute of casual conversation I found to my absolute horror, that I was agreeing to join Glen’s drawing class that afternoon.
I pushed the thought of actually having to draw something and then show my scratchy lines, that in no way what so ever, resemble what I am trying to draw firmly to the back of my mind.
During morning tea I was somewhat reassured when two other classmates confessed that they couldn’t draw either and as misery likes company I decided to honour my rash promise.
Three trips to the toilet later I walked into the VIRAL LAB and prepared to meet my drawing doom.
I was so nervous that I was on the verge of tears for the whole lesson.
I have always really, really, really, wanted to learn to draw and my inabilty to do anything beyond a doodle has always frustrated me. My previous attempts at learning haven’t been very successful and so I have always just avoided drawing anything.
I was told as a child that I shouldn’t bother drawing as I would never be any good at it and my drawings were held up in class as examples of what not to do. Looking back they were the same shit that every other kid was drawing, except that my sparkly princesses were fond of wearing rather pointy hats. The nuns were very evil in the early seventies. But that is another topic for another day.
Once we had introduced ourselves to each other, the serious business of drawing was about to begin and I really wished for a fire drill, an urgent phone call, anything at all would have done, to delay the inevitable.
The mechanics of setting up the easels was soothing and I positioned myself so I was hiding at the back of the room.I had never been shown how to position an easel before, I didn’t know about the tooth of the paper, about eyelines and perspective and I certainly didn’t know that a perfectly ordinary table would suddenly turn into an indecipherable series of confusing angles and lines.
As I was trying to draw this impossible alien thing, as my hands wouldn’t obey my eyes and my lines were all over the shop, Glen came up behind me and quietly encouraged me to keep on going. I remember a drawing class I had done previously where I was in the exact same situation as yesterday and a box on a table had morphed into a confusing tangle. My teacher had simply taken the pencil from my hands and effortlessly corrected my lines. In that moment of correction, I gave up the idea that I could ever learn to draw.
Yesterday was different. My drawing was still the worst in the room but you could see that it was a table, if you squinted a bit.
All the marks on the paper were my own and what I learned yesterday has given me the confidence that I might actually be able to draw a table soon and with any luck, you wont even have to squint at it to see that it is a table.