Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Laura, for JKPP

6x9 inches, watercolor

Last night was the final figure drawing session for the summer.  I left a half hour early, hoping to have a little daylight left so I could see the turn off for the little side roads I use to drive home.  I take the back roads because they are quiet, usually no pick up trucks in a big hurry, and I like to roll down the windows and listen to the crickets and cicadas. I probably will not go many more times now; after Labor Day the sessions run from 6:30 until 9:30, and I get tired by the time it's time to leave.

This week is very hot, really too hot in my studio to work very long, so I went downtown to the gallery where I show some of my work.  On Tuesday mornings some people get together to paint, and the place is blessedly cool. So I finally go around to doing a portrait for one of my Flickr groups, Julia Kay's Portrait Party.  

This is from a photo submitted by Laura Starrett.  I was happy to see her picture, since I've followed her watercolors online for several years, and even exchanged paintings with her.  I was sorry that her face ended up being rather overworked, but I could not resist playing around with the shadows and highlights on her face.

If you would like to see Laura's blog, click n the link.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Nude Descending, and so on

20 minute modified contour drawing, pencil

Community figure drawing studio at my alma mater this summer has been - I'm searching for the right adjective here - a mixed bag.  On the plus side, the space is fine, large, well lit, comfortable.  I love taking a chunk of time out Monday evenings for direct observation drawing, like our two models, enjoy the time I spend working larger than usual, and faster than I do at home.  

The not so good part of this summer has been the low participation, and the anxiety connected to that.  The model fee is split among whoever shows up, and when only two or three show up, the cost is higher.  Why so few?  Who knows.  Maybe people are more scheduled this summer than previous years, or maybe the undraped model is intimidating.  Maybe there are personality conflicts that I know nothing about.  Maybe people are unhappy about the uncertainty of what they will be required to pay.  All I know is that it's too darned bad, and that if people are not interested or able to attend, the opportunity will vanish.

5 minute drawing, model, in belly dancing costume

One of our models this summer is a young woman who is a belly dancer, and she agreed to model part of the evening one of her costumes, a beautiful affair with a beaded and sequined bodice and belt, and coral silk swirling skirts.  I was also intrigued by her metallic headpiece, with its fringe of pendants and semi-precious stones.  She clearly enjoyed modeling the outfit, and showing us some of the moves.

5  minute quick sketch, charcoal and pastel

Perhaps having costumed models for summer,at least some weeks, would be a less intimidating way to get people involved in drawing, and it certainly would be a nice break in routine; it was certainly nice for us.

Anyway, all this considering of models, draped and undraped, brought to mind this favorite poem of mine, written by X. J. Kennedy:

Nude Descending a Staircase

Toe upon toe, a snowing flesh,
A gold of lemon, root and rind,
She sifts in sunlight down the stairs
With nothing on. Nor on her mind.

We spy beneath the banister
A constant thresh of thigh on thigh—
Her lips imprint the swinging air
That parts to let her parts go by.

One woman waterfall, she wears
Her slow descent like a long cape
And pausing, on the final stair,
Collects her motions into shape.

 --X.J. Kennedy

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Rolling Along

8x8 inches, collage

Summer is rolling along, not so hot as last year, so my flowers look reasonably good, although my efforts to pull weeds have slacked off considerably.

Only three weeks of figure drawing left.  I certainly enjoy the direct observation drawing, but lately the drive home along quiet country roads is one of my favorite things.  Last week Lima Center road, which is narrow and has trees overarching in several places, was spangled with fireflies overhead, and speckled with little frogs on the pavement.  Magic.

My dear husband and I celebrated our anniversary this week - we were married in 1975, so we both looked different back then - by taking a drive to Baraboo to see Circus World Museum.  I had last gone there in about 1960 or so with my grandparents, and it has greatly expanded since then.  I fell in love with the old circus posters, so colorful and exotic, though the refurbished wagons are always good to see. I never attended the Great Circus Parade in Milwaukee, though the train came through Janesville a couple times, and in fact stayed over night, so the wagons are old friends.  Anyway after that we had a fine anniversary dinner at Ishnala, a supper club on Mirror Lake that seems to cross a log home with a tree house. 

These days, it's summer, and the livin' is easy.