Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The learning curve

To be naked is to be deprived of our clothes, and the word implies some of the embarrassment most of us feel in that condition. The word 'nude,' on the other hand, carries, in educated usage, no uncomfortable overtone. The vague image it projects into the mind is not of a huddled and defenseless body, but of a balanced, prosperous, and confident body: the body re-formed.

- Kenneth Clark, The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form

My marathon life class was last night and we had a very energetic model. I always find it a little amusing how male models nearly always use poles and ropes in creating poses to show movement, while female models, for the most part tend to adopt more natural poses. I found an interesting article Reviewing the Nude, Art Journal, Spring, 1999 by Leslie Bostrom, Marlene Malik that examines the role of models.

As usual, we started off with one minute poses....I'm beginning to hate those. Well not, not beginning. I've always hated one minute poses. It takes me more time to detach my paper from the easel than it does to do the one minute sketch. While they are useful as warm ups, too many one, two or three minute poses become tedious to me and I want to get on with the 'meat' of the class - longer poses. In this class we don't have anything longer than 20 minutes. Perhaps it was my mood or the huge chunk of compressed charcoal I was encouraged to draw with, but I struggled with these sketches and didn't do any of them much justice I'm afraid.

I've been reviewing the process of how I draw in my head and believe that I am well stuck in a detail rut where I love precise, small scale drawings full of control and realism. In twenty minutes I can only begin to scratch the surface in terms of my comfort level in getting down realistic lines and shapes. Shading is a whole different story in a short time frame. I'm just starting to develop the shapes and BAM, the time is gone. I'm usually the one whining 'awwww geeeeezzz!' when the instructor says the pose is finished.

That gap of 20 plus years since life class is showing me that the re-learning curve is steeper than I thought it would be.


Jo Castillo said...

I feel for you in your frustration. Sounds familiar. The sketches look good from my view. :)

Interesting quote.

Billie Crain said...

i think you did a bangup job with the charcoal, Jeanette! your sketching skills are paying off bigtime!!!

Jeanette said...

Thanks Jo, I'll persevere and get there eventually!

Its the large (huge) format that's throwing me Billie, but thanks for the kind thoughts.

Jeanette said...

Thanks Jo, I'll persevere and get there eventually!

Its the large (huge) format that's throwing me Billie, but thanks for the kind thoughts.

vivien said...

I thought your fast poses were great! there isn't time to catch more than the essential elements and you've done that - you've caught the essence of the pose really well. :)

Anonymous said...

Criky I remember my life drawing class's experience lol, a steep learning but I did enjoy it. Yours look great

Katherine said...

Gosh - I couldn't redo paper on an easel and do quickies! Try getting a sketchpad with one of the wire ring binder things. Then just sit and work in a largish sketchpad for the one minute ones - flipping over sheets as you go. They're only warm up/get your eye on/loosen up exercises when all said and done.

Or maybe try using one sheet of paper on the easel and draw a bit smaller. Lots of studies on one sheet - and if the tutor asks why just smile sweetly as say "Just like Michaelangelo"!

So far as the models are concerned, I think the pole is some form of giant erectile metaphor for the fact that they are 'real men' really....just in case anyone was thinking any different. Either that or essential to all those who are wont to say "I was classically trained"!