Written by: Sarah Dumas
Throughout the fall semester, Georgia College’s Drawing I course is inviting guest speakers to discuss differing artistic processes with the class. In the case of Valerie Aranda, this pertains to sketching.
Aranda is a fellow art professor at GC and the fourth invited guest of the semester. Upon her arrival to the classroom, Aranda walked in pushing a cart full of sketchbooks. This first visual gave insight to the depth of importance sketching has in Aranda’s heart.
“The sketchbook is definitely part of my process,” she said. “For the most part I use the sketchbook as a visual journal.”
In describing her inspiration, she said that artists, such as Van Gogh, who have used the sketchbook have contributed greatly to where she is today. As the class viewed the pages of pencil upon charcoal and watercolor, some students were surprised to see blank pages as well. Aranda explained that particular sketchbooks tend to hold a specific theme such as a travel destination or event. When that journey has ended, the sketchbook typically has too.
When asked how she chooses her subjects or themes, Aranda remarked about what she did in graduate school. “You’re expected to come up with the show. I would just sketch to break the fear,” Aranda said. She added that sketch is not only a means of practice, but a way to ward off the mental blocks that artists so frequently confront.
It is clear from her personal work that Aranda uses sketching for such means. In talking to students about their opinions on having guest speakers, the consensus was vastly positive. Greyson Williams, an art major, said he was intrigued. “It was really cool listening to her discuss [her sketches] and her reasons for creating them,” said Williams.
Other students felt the same in the discussion of Aranda’s style and process, finding her lecture unique to the others. “No one else talked about personal events. That was really interesting,” said Jolee Bettles, a history major. Sandra Trujillo , associate professor of art and ceramics, put her perspective on having guest speakers to light as well.
“Sketchbooks reveal the most intimate and personal elements. [Aranda] just opened her whole world to us,” said Trujillo. Bringing outside influences, be that a person, their art, or both, has proven effective and worthwhile for these students.
To see future guest speakers in Drawing I, look out for the 20/20 link on Front Page.