“Every student improves from the beginning to the end. It’s all about practice — the more you practice the better you get,“ said Dale Malekoff, director of the Art Institute at Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway (HAFTR) High School.
Entering the art studio in ninth grade for the first time, I certainly did not believe this would be true. I was almost positive that I would be the one exception. Scanning the bulletin boards around me, I took in the drawings with amazement. There was no way I could ever draw like that! This artwork was just too good! Every last bit was perfectly shaded, and all of the objects were in exact proportion. Although I was enrolled in art lessons for more than four years, I doubted that my sketches would ever be able to emulate the excellence of these pieces. But, one thing I did know was that I wanted to improve as an artist.
I began my freshman year with ceramics. The soft consistency of the earthy clay was fun to work with. We all enjoyed watching our mushy creations harden into white delicates as Malekoff fired them in the kiln. Already I was beginning to enjoy learning about different techniques and styles.
As I continued on to 10th grade, my desire to further develop my artwork was immeasurable. I was excited to learn about drawing, an essential skill required for all types of art, including painting, ceramics, and design. The year began with learning how to draw three-dimensional shapes, and then progressed into drawing simple objects with cast shadows. My skills in shading improved, and I learned to notice the light source, which determines the highlights and shadows of the arrangement.
I also continued to explore different mediums, producing still lifes in both charcoal pencils and pastels.