It was late 1992 when I received a surprise letter that I was invited to the Art Academy of Cincinnati’s Honors Life Drawing class. My gracious and talented high school teacher; Mrs. Barbara Doucette had recommended me for the class. I was completely surprised, excited and a little nervous too.
The day came when I attended the first class and the experience that followed was not what I expected. Sitting at my easel with a naked person in front of me along with 20 other people suddenly made me feel overwhelmingly self-conscious. My heart beat out of my chest and I felt light headed. All of this began the moment the model took off her clothes. The first class was mostly spent trying to calm down and control my nervousness.
When I attended second class the feelings I had prior were nowhere to be seen. It was then that I was free of those emotions that I poured into the work. The path of the class was so much more free than the structured vocational arts classes I was used to in high school. We went in randomly timed drawing sessions consisting of 3 to4 five minute drawing periods. At the beginning of each session we began working on a new drawing. After the warm up sketches the teacher instructed us to draw in 15, 20, 30, 40 minute sessions. As the classes progressed I found myself learning time management, symmetry, finding shapes in the shadows. One of the few specific instructions that the teacher gave us still influences me to this day; “I want no lines in this one, just shapes”.
This was one of the times in my life I felt my work turned a corner into a more open road of interpretation.