Sorry, Mrs. Malek

Just a pretty flower

In an effort to improve my artistic skills, I’m challenging/forcing myself to have a new sketch here every Sunday.  This isn’t a space for polished art, but for the practice and mistakes it takes to improve one’s skills… and I’m looking forward to sharing that progress with you.  Who knows – I might actually, finally, get better :).

At the beginning of this new blog venture, I have something to confess: I cheated on an assignment in high school.

In my freshman and sophomore years at Laguna Hills High School, I took an art class with Mrs. Malek.  Some of the projects I really enjoyed, others I didn’t.  Sometimes I’d go home excited about my art homework, and pour myself into it, but there were other assignments that disinterested me so much that I almost didn’t do them.

One day we were told to find a real flower, and sketch it.  No problem, right?  The catch was that we couldn’t look at what we were drawing on the paper – we had to watch the flower and not look at our pencil’s work until we were done.  The point of it was to remind us to focus more on the subjects we draw and not get lost gazing at the paper, and obviously nobody’s flower was going to look good – but I still didn’t quite follow the rules.

I believe we turned our art pads in once a week, so I had time to do this assignment – I just didn’t want to.  I’ve always been a perfectionist, but I was even more dramatic back then (you know.. hormones), so this wasn’t just something I was going to not care about, it was something to rebel against ;).  You know how teenagers are… so, while probably muttering under my breath (or, at least in my head), I just did this in class one day while I had a break.  There was a giant fake sunflower in the room, so I just drew that.  I didn’t look at my paper the WHOLE time, but I sure didn’t draw the thing blindly.

The best part about it, is that Mrs. Malek knew.  When I got my work back, on it was written, “From a real flower??  Couldn’t be and have all the lines meet in the middle.”  She knew I BS’d the project, because it looked far too good, but she may not have known why.  The stranglehold of perfectionism was so strong that I couldn’t even let myself do something stupid and “wrong” for a lousy high school art class project that nobody else was going to see but me and the teacher.  The audience didn’t matter, it was all me, so I had to fake it just to have this little drawing at least only look semi-stupid.

I had been thinking of some type of weekly art assignment I could do here, and when I thought back to my blind-flower story, I realized that I could now do the exact opposite and present to you my flaws.  I may not do these sketches on Sunday, but beyond grammatical reasons, I think having this series post then is a great way to start off the week – a reminder that we only truly fail when we stop trying.  These probably won’t be the most exciting drawings you’ll ever see, and they may sometimes be nothing more than a collection of doodles and cartoon eyes or something, but I hope it can at least be interesting :).  Besides… why do we fall, Bruce?  So we can learn to pick ourselves up.

Oh, and to start off this series I decided to revisit that assignment from over 12 years ago.  Remember that flower in the picture at the beginning of this post?  May I present to you my blindly drawn version:

Just a pretty flower drawn blindly

It’s hideous and indistinguishable… and I can’t help but feel that Mrs. Malek would think that’s a wonderful thing :).


About Mark Mushakian

Just a man who loves God, women, kids, dogs, movies, and every other lovely thing in life :)
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3 Responses to Sorry, Mrs. Malek

  1. dannykneip says:

    you cheated at drawing. that's a new low for you, mark. πŸ˜‰

    actually, your latest attempt is exactly what the exercise called for. i hope justin's mom appreciates your honesty and doesn't dock your grade too much for handing in the late assignment. πŸ™‚ good job


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