Sunday, June 2, 2013

Figures in the North Woods

For a number of reasons, I never took a workshop in 2012.  This year I was determined to not repeat that mistake.

So, I signed up for a class with Robert Burridge at Dillmans Resort four hours north of here, near Lac du Flambeau.  The class description indicated that the emphasis would be on drawing an undraped model, then painting in acrylic, and using collage elements, to create abstract paintings.

I spent weeks ahead of time going over the materials list, covering full sheets of watercolor paper with white gesso, figuring ways to get as much as I could into as portable a format as I could. I made sure my electronics were charged, that I had cords.  I took drawing supplies, paint, collage materials, adhesives, a bucket, in short, the works.

There were some issues.  I forgot that there is no cell phone service at the resort - it's remote.  And anyway, even if I was in Lac du Flambeau, or Boulder Junction, my yearly contract and payment was up.  So, the phone stayed in my suitcase.  I had my iPod Touch for checking weather, email, and for showing people wee photos of some of my art, but realized when I got there that I had the wrong recharging cord - for the iPad, instead.  Oops. I was able to borrow one from another student.

My drawing materials were OK, and I had enough paper, but I should have brought my gesso to use as white, and to cover up the things I did that I never want to anyone to see outside the classroom. I definitely should have brought bug spray - the skeeters were fierce.

But it was an excllent week.  I admire Robert Burridge's work very much, and it was a great opportunity to watch him work and solve problems. My roommate, whom I had never met before, was congenial and fun.  It rained, but not so much as to make life miserable.  I got to hang out in a classroom that overlooked a lovely lake, with eagles and loons on it.  People loaned me gesso.  Thumbs up.

My only quibble - many of the tips and stories were repeats from another class.  It didn't hurt to have some of them repeated, but I would rather have had more time with the model - she was lovely, calm, and altogether a professional.

Anyway, I probably made a couple dozen 3-8 minute sketches of her in charcoal, pencil and ink.  These are just a few that I liked. They're larger than I usually work, and I am determined to find a large sketch pad that has toned paper.  For now, I plan to tone a few blank pages for the local summer session of figure drawing that will be held starting Monday at UW Whitewater.

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