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How I found closure at the end of my drawing class

"Tangerines" by L.S. King, part of the final drawing critique.

“Tangerines” by L.S. King, part of the final drawing critique.

Shaking hands. Skipped beats in a heart rhythm. An acidic attitude that occasionally ate through calm. These were the traits I tried to hide (probably unsuccessfully) for the past few days as I waited for grades from the past semester to be posted online.

This whole grade thing – it’s crazy. This obsession with needing to get an A in each class is insane. I cared little about it in primary school or during my BFA years. But with my other master’s degree, I achieved the 4.0, and now I can’t help try for it again.

This means that though I worked hard in drawing, I sweated it. It’s true I want to be a better drawer (and eventually a better printmaker) and I’m willing to spend a lot of time on it, but there was a constant pressure (and deadlines) that I imposed on myself during my drawing class. I feel I grew a lot, so the grade, as long as I passed, should have been fine. But the A became an odd motivator, especially when I felt tired out and overworked during the crush of the end of the semester.

And then there was the anxiety of wondering how I would deal with something less than an A. Would maturity win out? Would all the relaxation exercises pay-off where I told myself someone else’s pronouncement about my work did not dictate my self-worth?

I’ll never know because I did receive an A (to everyone’s relief around me). And I get a week off before I start two new summer classes.

If your curiosity remains about how my other critiques (not just the eggs image) went, I was very pleased with them (to quote my professor, Brent, about my progress). For my final portfolio, Brent had me pull out the semester’s worth of bigger assignments and I augmented those with a few other pieces I did outside the classroom, as well as some of the process/redo images I completed. It was a joyous moment when he smiled and said that I have a certain maturity to my work (as seen by metaphorical egg images verses bikini and suntan lotion imagery – not that anything is wrong with that, we’re at different places in our lives). He classified my work as looking calm and comfortable (even if the physical work behind it wasn’t).

The other two pieces from the final critique also received supportive feedback. One was the ink wash, and the other is the feature image of this post. I did the latter at home during a break period. The only real critism (other than to crisp up a few lines) had to do with cropping both more. Fair enough. I’m just not comfortable cutting away the full paper until I know how, if ever, I plan to display them. This will affect how I complete the crop. No need to rush into eliminating paper at this point.

I’m still working on my two drypoints, which I’ll share another time. But for now, there is a small sense of closure and an odd emptiness in the time slots that used to draw at work two days a week. On the plus side, I get to go home at normal hours.


The Unwinding Path is the blog of L.S. King – photographer, want-to-be printmaker and sometimes hypnotist. By day she is an arts communications officer at a rural university (translation: photographer, writer, and media content provider), and most of the rest of her time she is an MFA graduate student at Radford University.


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