Sunday, September 11, 2011

Learning to Draw, Old School Style

I feel like I have to start off this blog post first by apologizing for doing a bad job of posting now that I have started teaching again. Teaching is something that has taken up more time than I had hoped it would. I am not the kind of person to just "half-ass" something, regardless of what it is, and because I am not that kind of person, I have found that I have had little time to write blog posts as I used to. I am still hoping to better adjust to my new schedule and have time to do it all. But until then, my readers, the blog posts, especially the ones that take time to write, may not come as often.

That being said, what did I do with the little free time I do have? I signed up for a drawing class, followed by a painting class with Sadie Valeri, a classical realist artist who has an atelier in San Francisco. These classes will take up my Sundays from now until December. Crazy, huh? I am bogged down with my own painting, deadlines, shows, and have less time to do that with teaching during the day so of course it made sense for me to take some classes.

I really think this will help me in multiple ways. My drawing and painting skills will obviously improve, by a lot I am hoping. But also, I think carving out some time for ME, just me, so that for four hours one day a week I can learn and not feel obligated to a deadline of the demands of a job, will be not only be a welcome reprieve from the obligations of my life, but a necessary one. This is my "yoga", my"meditation", and what ultimately, I am hoping, will help keep me sane for the rest of this year.

So today was the first day of class. We spent most of the day watching Sadie demonstrate the first steps in our drawing, which is supposed to take us 6 weeks to complete, and from what she said, some of us won't be able to complete them. I had a hard time imagining how we could spend 6 sessions, at four hours each, on the same pose and NOT complete the drawing. I was skeptical, but I am open to learning the classical methods of drawing the figure so I kept my mouth shut and just listened and learned.

You can't see much of what I drew, not that there is much to see. At this point, my
drawing consists of less than a dozen lines. Can you tell this is a sitting man?
Today was spent on placement and drawing a "diamond" that will envelope the figure we are rendering. We were constantly refining it and making sure the proportions and placement are correct. I was able to also start "webbing" my drawing by drawing long lines that connect body parts that help refine the shape and segment the envelope. This sounds like a real easy things to do but it's actually a lot harder than it sounds. I spent a lot of time erasing and redrawing, trying to get the proportions just right. The point is to get placement of areas as exact as possible so that when we work on the details, the drawing is more proportional and "correct". It's easier to make corrections in the early stages when there aren't many details than when we get an area well rendered but have to erase it because the head is too big, or the legs are placed wrong.

It was a good day of watching and drawing. I am looking forward to the next class and the learning what comes next in our drawing.

In other news...Here are two pieces that are waxed and finished! These will be available at the JoAnne Artman Gallery.

"Over Her Shoulder", 10"x10", oil and encaustic wax on panel.

"Sombrero Boys", 24"x30", oil and encaustic wax on panel.

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