Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD (08/03/17)
- TITLE: A Defining Moment
By Jay Dalton
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Rushing through the classroom door, he felt apprehensive about being late for his first day of class as a sophomore.
"Here," said the hurried student.
The art professor continued his role call, then handed out the syllabus for the semester. "Please note that it says there will be a class voting at the end of the semester for the best works to be entered in the annual Fine Arts Festival which is held at the end of the school year."
Centered in the room was a still life arrangement. It was an assortment of musical instruments, mixed with odds and ends. Floral arrangements, an accordion, a bass trumpet snuggled in the arms of a teddy bear and brightly decorated tea cups with saucers.
"Let's get busy now; remember to show contrast."
The students began to draw as the professor made continual rounds, checking each student's ability, chatting briefly, giving pointers, and making notes.
An attractive, young woman of Asian descent stopped at her work and began a walk around to review other students' efforts. This was encouraged. She stopped occasionally to chat with a student. She made her way around the circle of drawings and stopped at Walter's drawing.
"Say. That's pretty good. How long have you been drawing?" she inquired with a smile.
"Since middle school. Me and some boys that I hung out with got together to draw. It was our thing," he replied, centering his attention as he looked up at her. She had delicate features hidden behind thick black glasses. Her lips were thin; her hair was very long and black. Her eyes were sparkling. Soon they were together in front of her work discussing the obvious Asian cultural influence. He was enchanted with her and the situation. Then he noticed an exotic artist's brush in her craft box.
"What is that?" he asked.
"Oh, this is a Japanese Sumi brush," she said as she handed it to him to examine. It was a round, thick brush that quickly tapered to a fine point used for making delicate detail.
"This should work! I've never seen one of these before. May I borrow it and return it at our next class?" He intuitively knew the answer. She would say, "Yes."
She nodded her head "yes" with a charming enchanted grin.
Walter considered his father, while holding the bamboo brush. Maybe this would change things. Dr. William Hastings was an accomplished surgeon who had a set design for his son to follow in his medical profession. He discouraged his son's insistence on drawing or "withdrawing" as he sarcastically commented to his wife. She secretly slipped cash to her son for art supplies and encouraged him. She understood his deep desire to create. She knew his real reason for drawing. Her husband was clueless.
Walter was disappointed with his work. He tried pens and pencils, crayons, felt tips, oils, pastels, watercolors, you name it. He was always grasping. He could not please his father.
The new brush brought hope to his work, a new engine in Walter's quality of rendering. He loved the black and white sharp contrast blending with the depths of silver gray shades that seemed to float to life like an ethereal velvet cloud on his worksheets. He had hidden his work from his family. His mother knew nothing of the change until the day of the Fine Arts Festival. He knew his work was good, real good. But the proof came from the classmates voting at the end of the semester. He received many nominations from fellow students.
The day finally arrived when Mom and Dad came to the Fine Arts Festival. They found Walter in front of his drawings. There was an astonishing array of his drawings, one featuring an award winning, stunning portrait of the woman now standing next to him.
His mother said, "Look, William. Walter has won a blue ribbon! Best of show and a scholarship too!"
Walter's eyes met his father's unemotional glare. He desired deeply to be accepted. Would his father accept him? Would he accept the woman holding his hand?
"Oh, God," he silently prayed. "Do I have to go back to the drawing board?"
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