Figure drawing again this evening. Neither Oldest nor I felt like we were in the groove tonight. And our drawings reflected that. I'm going to show them to you regardless, I decided - whether I like them or not. I've heard that life drawing does this - sometimes it falls into place, other times it's a struggle and it almost seems like a waste of time. But it isn't.
All drawings here are 18 by 24 inches (typical big newsprint pad size - or pastel paper for the longer poses).
The first photo, above, is of two five minute poses. The right hand drawing isn't bad. The second photo is a ten minute pose, and it shows another change from our first session, last week. Our model this evening was completely different. She had beautifully defined bones beneath well proportioned limbs and torso. She was an ideal model - but I always find it more challenging to draw thin women, the same way I find it more challenging to draw men. There are so many straight lines and nuances of light around the sternum, ribs, and clavicles. I'm getting better with knees and elbows, but I still have trouble with the bones of the torso. I'm looking forward to getting better with practice.
So it was difficult, but absolutely fascinating, to draw her pelvis, which was so well defined. A number of the poses were ideal for me to attempt that, like this ten minute pose, and probably my best drawing of the session. I'm also more comfortable with the red chalks, not the black or gray. I remember finding that out at college - that I felt so much more in touch with the drawing when I switched colors.
The first long pose led me to try smudging, which I have never been good at. Looking at the drawings this evening it was probably a mistake on my part. The results are better when I just apply the pastel and leave it, except to blur sections for depth, to reduce contrast, or to make corrections. I'm not at all happy with the face of this drawing, and I didn't get the top of her breast correct, either. I hadn't gotten everything else lined up right, and it distorted the top when I got back around to there.
But the section of the pose that struck me the most, the area around her hand, turned out fairly well for a short drawing. She had long hands, and she placed them with grace. This was the most enjoyable part of the pose to draw, and it shows in the drawing, as well. That's the only place I think I played - the rest was more like work. That's one way to describe being in or out of "the zone" when I draw.
The last pose was tough for me in many ways. I only had this green paper, which was not appropriate. I switched to blue pastel (which I've never used for a figure before) and I was still smudging. Some aspects of this are OK - but I still had the hardest time with all the subtle complexity, foreshortening, and proportions of the torso. Again, though, what I found fascinating about this model, and this pose, was the beautiful lines of her pelvis and her pubic bone. I'll be glad to have another opportunity to draw her - maybe when I'm more right brained.
And both sessions have one huge difference from when I was in college. Many of the poses strike me powerfully with the beauty of one area or one line or one gesture or proportion on the model. For instance, on the third photo from the top, the red ten minute pose, it's that long line down the right hand side - and that's why I placed the edge of the figure in the center of the page (I overdid it, though). I am, for the first time, seeing what turns these from sketches and drawings into works of art - the compelling gorgeous instance, the unique glorious beauty of an individual human being captured and emphasized by the drawing. I didn't used to even see them - now I sense them instantly, at the start of the pose. Now if I can get good enough to capture those moments... I think I could happily chase this the rest of my life. Even though the drawing was a struggle this evening, the two hours FLEW by. I was so sorry when it was over.
I can hardly wait to see who we get to draw next, and what is beautiful about their poses - but it will be several weeks, since I will be tied up with a conference and meetings out of town almost all of next week. Sessions run into the evenings, and I will get little or no art done next week until Friday.