Advanced Essay #1: Art and Approval


For this paper my goals were to show the perspective of me wanting to have an art career with the approval of my family. I also wanted to include more reflections and avoid having a passive voice. I’m most proud of the descriptions in my story since I put a lot of effort into creating a clear image of what I was describing. To improve in the future I would add more reflections and include another memory to make my message easier to understand.

Art and Approval

When I was in elementary school my favorite subject was art. I’m not sure what drew me to it. Maybe it was the ability to brush my feelings onto paper or perhaps I enjoyed the feeling of pastels smudged onto my fingers after working on a piece. Pastel crayons were one of my favorite mediums to work with. The crayons were soft and velvety, making strikes and swirls across the page almost effortless. Pastels not being stiff like other mediums allowed for more unrestrictive expression.  

Every year my school had a grade by grade art contest and show. Each grade got assigned a medium to work with for the contest and my grade at the time was assigned pastels. My mouth found itself turned into a grin at the news. This would be an opportunity to beat Reagan, one of my classmates who not only won this competition every year but the yearbook cover contest as well. Winning the competition this year would not only prove how serious I was about art to my teachers and classmates, it would also show my family that this was passion they needed to support.

I decided to not plan my art and to make it up as I go. I turned a light blue pastel onto its side and rolled it onto my paper causing splotches of blue on the paper. The patches of blue with the off-white paper peeking through reminded me of the sky minutes before a downpour. I then knew I wanted my drawing to be scenery of nature. Using different shades of brown pastels I made a smooth mound in the bottom corner of the page that represented the ground. On the bottom of the page, I created a lake that was a slightly darker blue than the sky and had gentle ripples on its surface. I finished by creating long strokes of different shades of green onto the ground, forming blades of grass.

Weeks later after I submitted my work I found myself at the art show with my parents. My grade’s art was posted on a hallway wall. In the center of the wall was a piece with the winner’s name under it in bold letters: Reagan. Disappointment uncoiled inside of me. My dad noticed my enthusiasm turn sour and put his hand on my head while looking down at me.

“Well… yours was my favorite.”  My heart beamed at his words. Although I lost the art competition I always won my family’s support and I knew I could count on them for approving my life choices.

My family always knew I liked art. They never blinked an eye at me taking art camp over the summer or me continuing art as an elective in middle school. They didn’t even flinch when I said I wanted to be an artist when asked what did I want to be when I grow up. When I put my words into action, that’s when they got nervous.

I was in the backseat of my dad’s car. The road was clear for the most part with the exception of a stray car here and there. My dad, deciding he could give some of the attention he was putting towards the road to me, turned down the radio and looked up into his rear view mirror.

“Have you given any thought as to what you want to be when you’re older?” My eyebrows furrowed in thought, although I already knew the answer.

“An animator.” I said it with no hint of a doubt slithering into my words.

“Oh, so you want to work on Disney movies?” My dad was taken aback. This was the first time my answer to this common question changed from “artist” to “animator”. It was becoming clear that I was becoming more determined about pursuing an art career. The more it became transparent that my passion wasn’t just a hobby the more worried my family got for my future.

“Uh, well I wasn’t thinking working for Disney exactly.” I ran my hands over the grooves of the car door in thought. “I really want to make a cartoon one day and maybe work at Cartoon Network.”

“And how will you do that?”

“There’s a college called CalArts that I’m interested in.”

“CalArts? Where’s that?”

“California” There was a pause before he spoke.

“That’s so far away… are you sure about this?” I hesitated before my answer. This was the first time I was unsure about my art.

“Yes.” That was the end of the conversation and my dad’s attention returned back to the road. I knew he was only worried for me, but I was not yet familiar with my plans for the future being met with doubt. From there on I questioned my love for art and how far I was willing to go to so I could pursue it. I proved to my family how serious I was about art but in exchange, I received uncertainty in my life choices.