Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Life Drawing Nov 27, 2012

Complex, high pressure day at work, which left me satisfied, followed by a drive in the rainy dark down a country road to Life Drawing.  Haven't been able to make it in over a month.  Got there early and had time to walk up the dark gravel road in the drizzel and then to help set up.  Finally, I sat and unwound before the model arrived.

This model is becoming my favorite to draw.  Her poses are beautiful in a natural and spontaneous way, she holds them quite still, and she has the proportions the Classical Greeks sought at the height of their sculpting powers.  Long hips and proud powerful lines.  I never feel I do her justice, and I never tire of the attempt.

The warm up sketches were meh (none shared here) - but from the first long pose, the 25 minute one above, I found a way to say what I wanted with the Conte crayons and the brown craft paper.  These are 18 x 24, and are not cropped.  I sense bones under those lines - that's what makes it work.

This second drawing I include not because I'm pleased with it, but because it shows a more fresh and successful right brain approach for her lower half and a fussy left brain unsuccessful approach on her upper half.  I was on the right for about 5 minutes, and got stuck on the left for the remaining 20.

I tend not to attempt faces unless I'm prepared to do the work needed to capture a good likeness.  I keep intending to achieve some speed and confidence at home on photos, with a timer (maybe use a pose app I know of online), in order to develop a method, but I never get around to it.

This last is not entirely successful either, in my mind, but I can see where I might go with the white.  The best things about this were done in mere seconds, with confident strokes.  That's how I want it ALL to be.

I enjoyed evey minute tonight.  And I picked up six egg rolls (three kinds) at a favorite Chinese place on the way home and split them with Oldest.

Click images for larger views.  I would love to know what you think.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Olmstead's Voice

As we rose from the French Broad River toward the Vanderbilt chateau, I fell gradually behind, lost in the trees.  The strong quiet voice of Frederick Law Olmstead slowed my steps.  He had choreographed trunks and branches into a dance which sang to me as I walked through it, and as the sun passed over it, draping shadows on the grass.  Though the individual trees have grown up in unpredictable ways, as dancers' cannot erase the breathtaking differences in their bodies and movements, the placement of the trees was clearly the vision of a single spirit.  Through that vision, the landscape and the trees transcended the ordinary to become art.

Groups of younger trees nearer to the house remain ordinary.  It's not the age of the trees - I clearly sensed that the older trees would have sung the same Olmstead words, danced the same steps, when they were saplings.  The voice has deepened with the age of the oaks, but it's the placement and relationships which carry his voice, not the grandeur of the individual trees.  

Nor can film carry his voice.  I took dozens of photographs, and every one is empty and mute.  But I remember the feeling of a white dance as my daughter and others performed it last night - a dance similar to a pastoral landscape.  And I remember the movement and voice as I walked through Olmstead's landscape this morning.