I Do Not Belong in Art Class

Hello, friends!

Since traveling to Rome I, surprisingly, have had many people (Mom&Dad) ask me how classes are going. I respond with the usual, “they’re good it’s too early to tell” response. However there is one class that I am struggling with quite a bit. My figure drawing class.

I, unartistic Francesca Pompili, am in a figure drawing class. Why? Well because I attend a liberal arts university, and therefore am required to take a fine arts course. I specifically saved this requirement for my semester abroad. I figured, what better place than Rome to study art. Right? Wrong. Oh so wrong. I signed up a little too late for classes. The only art course left which fit into my schedule was, yes you guessed it, figure drawing.

For those of you who don’t understand why I am making such a big deal about this, I will explain in quite simple terms. Every Monday, for 3 long hours and 15 tedious minutes, I have to draw a nude model.

Despite sometimes having the maturity level of a 13 year old boy (I blame Stephen Pompili), it is not the nudity that I have the issue with. I mean, do I want to stare at a naked stranger for 3 hours? No. But, can I sit in class without snickering for 90+ minutes? Obviously. So then what is the issue?

The issue is that I cannot draw. I would like to think that I am creative and quite crafty, but I am not artistic. I wish I were, but I’m not.

The first day of class the teacher went around the room, asking us what level of experience we have with art. I am one of 2 non-art majors in the class, and I responded by saying, “I’m a nanny, so I am very familiar with stick figure art”. The teacher was incredibly amused, but my peers all looked at me with pity. It’s hard being the non-artsy kid in the very artsy, art class.

I digress. I am sharing this because, 1.) I’m waiting for my laundry to be done (3 hour cycles, seriously Rome?!?) and, 2.) to hopefully provide you all with a good laugh.

With that said, let me finally get to the actual story.

It was on the second class that the nude model was present. We had to sketch her in two different positions. I struggled for all 3 hours and 15 minutes. Ferociously erasing, trying to figure out how to draw an arm that didn’t look like a flag pole, my angst made me stick out like a non-hipster sore thumb.

At the end of the class, the teacher asked us all to turn our giant sketch books around so he could critique, and so the model could look at our work. And that’s when it happened. The laugh. The model was approaching my easel when I, already cringing with shame due to my lack of talent, hear it. A soft, but distinct sound: a giggle. And then it grew a little bit louder, until it was obvious to just about everyone that the model, who I had just seen every nook and cranny of, was laughing…AT ME. I was too mortified at this point to get upset (and in retrospect, the situation was fairly comical), so I said, “Don’t worry you’re much prettier in person!”  And then she abruptly stopped laughing, because apparently now she didn’t find me oh so amusing, and walked away. Talk about awkward.

Oh the art world, a place where I will never have a place.

I would post my sketches, but I wouldn’t want to be laughed at, AGAIN.

I hope you all have a blessed day filled with people laughing with you, not at you.

Peace, Love, Art,


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