Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Back to Summer Figure Drawing

18x24 inches, charcoal
5 minute gesture drawing

It's summer, at least according to the local university calendar, and time to begin various and assorted renovation projects.  Last summer the school where I like to attend open figure drawing sessions on Monday evenings ripped up a couple parking lots and roads, and this summer they're doing over the experimental theater space and all the ceilings and light fixtures throughout the arts building.  I guess it doesn't matter, as long as a model and several artists show up to draw.

It's hard starting back into figure drawing after not having done it since last August.  As hard as going off a diet and then going back on.  As hard as exercising, then becoming a couch potato,  and then heading back to the gym.  Inertia gets you.  All winter I did collage work,and when I drew, it was portraits from photos, no larger than 8x10 inches.  In summer I like taking an evening to drive the half hour or so to the university, treating myself to some supper, then drawing from direct observation for a couple hours. For these sessions I really like working larger and bolder than usual, and often the warm up gesture drawings are more appealing to me than the longer poses.  It certainly was true this week.  Just bang it out, and suppress the urge to fiddle with details.

 18x24 inches
colored pencil and pastel

The model usually does a series of short, 3-5 minute, warm up poses, and then does a couple twenty minute poses.  This was one of those, and I find myself playing around with details more than I want even at 20 minutes.

18x24 inches
Derwent Coloursoft pencils on toned paper

There is always a 40 or 45 minute pose, broken up for the model's benefit into a couple sessions.  I think I wrote 20 minutes on this drawing, but it actually was 20 minutes on the body and another 15 or so on the face before I packed up and headed out.  I like it well enough, though not so well as the bolder gesture drawing.

I generally leave a little early for a couple reasons.  First, and probably most important is that it takes me almost 45 minutes minutes to get home taking the back roads, and I am so keyed up after the drawing session that I need time to unwind before bed.  I find that if I stay until the end people get to chatting and I don't make it out the door in enough time.  My other little secret is that I like to stop at Culvers on the way back and indulge in some frozen custard.  This week they had $1 shortie shakes.  My fresh raspberry shake was a perfect finish to the first session of the season.

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