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Experiences in college art lessons

By Andi Bedsworth

About two months ago, I mentioned my journey through art lessons in college. I wanted to continue with the story. Not that it is that extraordinary, but I have a feeling many of you have felt inadequate at something that you felt you needed to learn at one or more times in your life.

It was a funny time in my life and one in which I did not really excel. Not in art or in life, really. I was a bumbling young person full of ideas and drive, but I had no self-confidence.

Figure drawing class was as grueling as the basic drawing class and instead of drawing simple ovals, we had to draw the human body. NAKED.

Our teacher was very knowledgeable and started each class with a fun story about a different artist. Not the usual stories about artists but the fun fact type of tidbits. I am not sure if these were true or fictional, but they were interesting nonetheless.

Our models were quiet and lovely people who endured all sorts of uncomfortable poses while we messed around with charcoal and pencils trying to render them realistically. Well, some of the class did that. I was not interested in realism. It was too intimidating. So, I just went with what I thought was realistic. My teacher called it stylized. That was nice of him.

Upon graduating from college in 1993, I started my freelance career as a costume designer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. If you think there isn’t a big costume industry in the Red Stick, you would be correct, but there was certainly enough to keep me super busy.

I worked as the resident designer at Playmakers of Baton Rouge, which is a professional theatre for young audiences. As much as I love children, and by then had one of my own, this was a perfect fit for me to really cut my teeth on designing and creating fantastical and fun costumes in bright colors and crazy patterns. I made puppets, a giant Humpty Dumpty costume, countless pirates, fairies, clowns, jesters, and lots of fun animal costumes.

During the day, I worked in office jobs including at an engineering firm and dentist office. I also sewed fishing nets for the agriculture center on campus, stitched too many bridesmaid dresses to count and even a wedding gown. I made Mardi Gras ball costumes, worked crew at the local roadhouse theatre where I worked on shows such as David Copperfield’s magic touring extravaganza and various musicals that came in the area. I contracted out at various theatres including the ballet and at dancing schools in town.

Drawing fell to the wayside. I was too busy sewing. My days were consumed with choosing fabrics, scouring thrift stores for clothing items for shows, and I did not have time to do more with my pencil than jot down ideas and measurements for the newest costume project.

But drawing would return in my life and I will share how when time permits.