I’m not great at painting, but this semester I spent about six hours a week in Tjaden trying to paint anyways. On somewhat of a whim, I took a friend’s advice and signed up for an introductory art class. I was definitely the least experienced in the class. And still, the environment it created — where I had room to mess up and get better, where I was out of my element and felt no pressure to make anything perfect — brought me a kind of peace that I haven’t found in many other spaces here at Cornell. I painted everything from a portrait of a stranger to an exterior of the Cornell Sun building (that I ultimately had to call “abstract” because it was unforgivingly unrealistic.)
Every few weeks, we would have class-wide critiques where I’d nervously hang my attempts on the wall next to perfect, often photo-like pieces done by freshman Fine Arts students.