Thursday, March 17, 2011

Small Town Studio

The figure drawing studio I've been going to is held at Grange Hall.  It's an old funky building near the ferry dock.  We get there a little early to help set everything up.  The furnace is roaring, blasting in the main room, plus a space heater next to the model stand, and the kitchen stove and oven are turned on for extra oomph (it takes a lot of heat to get a stone cold room up to bikini-comfort warm).  Mostly the same regulars revolve through, both artists and models, and the atmosphere is very friendly.  The models use the restrooms to change into their robes.  The women's restroom is decorated with artwork by a local artist and a sign reading  "If it's yellow let it mellow. Sensative septic system.  Flush infrequently".
After all that, it feels like a shame to draw portraits from the shoulders up instead of complete figures, but that's what I find myself doing first chance I get.  Most of the poses are twenty minutes, so there is only so much ground one can cover, so to speak.  Also, I am trying to get back to a level of drawing that is more about line quality than large areas of contrast.  I don't concern myself with the drawing being a very good likeness, but am finding myself thinking, "Wow, that really does look like her."  So much so, that I hesitate to post them on the internet, for privacy concerns.  But oh well.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Models Are People Too

It is an interesting relationship between the artists and the person taking their robe off in front of those artists.  I always remind myself that Michelangelo put in plenty of time with figure studies.  One young person I explained it to couldn’t make sense of it.  “But they aren’t really naked.”  “Yes they are really naked.”  “But, so, they aren’t real people.”  “Yes they are real people.”  “But they do actually have clothes on.”  “No, they don’t actually have clothes on.”  “So, the people aren’t actually there.” “Yes, they are actually there.”  And so on.

I guess it’s weird, except it’s not.  Most artist models are professional artist models.  Sometimes they walk around during their break to see the drawings, but mostly they don’t.  Sometimes we know their names, and sometimes we don’t.   It can be hard to know how chatty to get with them during breaks.