Wow, August was a busy month! Our school has a really great article written about it in the local “big” paper, the Sentinel. Click on the image to check out the article. This is a picture of Artist/Instructor Lisa Silas in action.
I finished my first Bargue figure drawing! At first I thought that I would be finished with this in a week… that is in a week as in six hours, two classes and add some extra time for homework. Call it two weeks even. 36 hours later Lisa finally said I could move on to another. That is 30 hours more than I expected.
36 hours later and I understand a little more now. I get that I am not drawing something ‘like’ something else or something that is open to interpretation. I am striving for an exact duplicate and in the process I am learning the reason for each line, the many “movements” hidden in the seemingly simple curve of a muscle, reaching for the right mark as my eye struggles to see more and more detail, developing my own spirit as I grapple with issues of patience, self criticism and even hope. As we learn to draw we learn things about ourselves on many levels. The deeper we commit to its pursuit, the more we change fundamentally.
In the figure drawing arena I did a partial block-in on a one night pose with a wonderful female model and began the block-in for a longer five week pose with a male model. Both block-ins were wrought with frustration.
Drawing the live figure is such a task master to me. I have some physical limitations that are constantly pushing me out of the “zone” such as glasses issues and an ankle/back that aches after the first hour. Then I have the struggles of a beginner. Like the way your head sits on your own neck. I am not kidding. I spend most of my time in the drawing room squinting, adjusting my feet and head and I am lucky to get a mark on the paper before the figure somehow auto-magically grows a head size bigger than its set space. This is where I struggle the most. But just when I start feeling comfortable, like I can see into the next line… I am reminded that I am not holding the pencil correctly when making my marks. Lisa has had me move to the side of my drawing many times to just make lines. Just make lines.
A couple weeks ago, when I couldn’t even make a mark right I wanted to walk out so bad I was almost tearing up. I looked at my peers and there were actual figures on the paper and I had only “make marks” scribbles and some measurement lines. Lisa looked at me and could see it in my face and gently reminded me that it wasn’t easy but that I could do it, that I was doing it and that it would become different. My fellow students were so helpful, and I could tell that most had faced the same feelings along the way.
Meanwhile in grisaille land, the work is paying dividends already as I was able to begin to translate the “cloth” in my painting. I have spend most of my time so far on the cloth and I have a lot of work still to go. I am learning so much working ion grisaille and letting go of color for a little while is freeing me up to really explore shape and value. Mmmmm…. value!
Final thought: It is very humbling and enlightening to let yourself be an absolute beginner at something.