People have been participating in life drawing session at UW Whitewater since the 1970s, and the university allows the sessions to continue for interested area community members during the summer. The group has free use of the drawing studio, which has a good raised platform and lighting, and schedules female and male models for people to draw. This summer the non-instructional sessions are Monday evenings, 5:30 until 8:30 pm at the Greenhill Center for the Arts in Whitewater, Wisconsin.
It's a good deal. The models are currently paid $36 for a three hour session, and the cost is split among the people who show up to draw. So, it's better to have more participants, rather than fewer.
I enjoy the sessions because it is one time when I work directly from life, rather than from photographs. I like working large and loose, like changing my emphasis from week to week, working with different materials, concentrating on line one week, or working on trying to link shadow patterns, or find a way to use watercolors in a compelling way.
Other participants work in other ways, some drawing only in graphite, or colored pencil, or pastels. Some are mostly interested in capturing an accurate portrait, some like to capture gesture more. The best sessions are well attended, when a sort of energy and camaraderie develops that carries everyone along for the entire evening. Other evenings, when only one or two artists attend, the energy seems lower.
I find an evening of drawing to be a splurge, a sort of art-y retreat from the rest of the week, though it is hard to find ways to share what I draw. Quite a few of my friends are baffled by my enthusiasm, and frankly seem embarrassed by the very idea of drawing an undraped model. Many area shows will not accept art that features nudity. I keep looking for converts, though, posting little flyers for the sessions, creating a page on Facebook. But the group remains small.
These are two of the five minute gesture drawings I did this week.