Archive for May, 2009

life drawing

May 9, 2009

red nude

This is a 10-minute sketch I did at the life drawing session at WAAM on Thursday, when we had an amazing and beautiful model, a graceful young woman who could hold a pose without the slightest movement for a full 25 minutes.  The sessions are on alternate weeks, and I try not to miss a single one.  Life drawing is forgotten by many artists as soon as they leave art school, but I think it may be the single most important practice for an artist at any stage of his or her career.  It’s not about producing beautiful final works, it’s about seeing and training the hand to cooperate with the eye.  It’s about patience, and about speed…to catch something of the model during a one-minute pose is a challenge.  My greatest satisfaction comes when I feel that I have connected with the model, that I’ve captured something of her being…that doesn’t happen very often.  The practice itself is infinitely interesting to me…at first I try to match the media to the subject; some models need a light delicate pencil stroke, some demand great bold swaths of charcoal.  Good models bring themselves to the process; they care about what they’re doing, they’re into it, and it feels like there’s an energy transmitted between model and artist…when it’s going well my hand isn’t moving a pencil across paper, it’s in contact with the subject, following directly the line of a shoulder, the curve of fingers.  Hard to explain, but drawing from life is where I feel closest to pure Being, closest to meditation.

And it’s just fun, too, as are my pre-drawing lunches with Marcie and Annette…

PS–there’s a fabulous book about drawing, and many other aspects of art that I highly recommend: Undressed Art: Why We Draw

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what, it’s May already?

May 4, 2009

And I didn’t post a single thing in April?  Damn.  I meant to.

What are there more of than stars in the sky, droplets in all the oceans?  Answer: pine needles in my back yard.  I’ve been raking them up for days and days, heaving huge heaps of them into the wagon my wonderful next-door neighbor Jim drives to the dump.  And still there are more, and more, and more. And leaves and twigs and branches.  Another dear friend, Steve, cleaned up my front yard for me for a reasonable price, but I really have to count pennies now so instead of hiring someone as I usually do, I picked up the rake and am going at it.  I don’t usually fret much about the yard, but there’s going to be my daughter Jessica’s wedding reception there in August, so it needs to look all clean and trim and spiffy and flowery, and I’d rather spend my yard budget on pretty things than raking. Can’t do too much at a time because my back starts screaming at me, but I have to admit it almost feels good to be doing physical work after the long sedentary winter.  I am SUCH a slug.

fading magnolia blossom

fading magnolia blossom

Now I’m about to take my sweaty self to the shower…blisters are stinging, and the tickling at the back of my nose is warning me of sneezing fits to come.  Off to deliver art to WAAM and Varga (if she’s around today) for this coming weekend’s shows.