Monday, November 23, 2009

Life Drawing Progress

This semester has flown by, and I realized that I haven't been posting much in the way of my fine art classwork. I'm taking Life Drawing again this semester, and it's one of those classes that has all ages and all levels of students. Life Drawing is something you can never have too much of, something that you always need to practice, and you just can't beat having a live model to work from twice a week for 3 hours apiece.

I look back on my drawings from my first time taking this class - which was the first time I'd ever drawn from a live model, - and I'm happy to see the progress I've made. What's even more satisfying is that I feel more relaxed and comfortable in class, whereas in the past I've finished each class exhausted and frustrated, from trying to make the materials work the way I want them to, be able to see what my teacher is talking about in interpreting the model and the lighting, or just having my hand carry out what I'm seeing.

This semester I've felt more like I can be looser with my strokes and try to capture the energy of the pose instead of just the physical characteristics. My lines and shading feel more confident, and I try not to second-guess myself as much. Even though I still feel like I do better with longer than an hour on long poses with compressed charcoal and charcoal paper, I'm happy that I can get the basic pose and shading down pretty quickly and move on from there.

I also really still enjoy my teacher - the one who's taught me to draw, essentially, since I've had him for every drawing and painting class since I decided to go back to school. Every class he's taught has been different, teaching the same basics, yet basing the pacing and demonstrations on the level of the students and their styles. There are a few of us who have been in a number of his classes, and yet he still is able to give meaningful feedback to us as well as the new students.

Sure, I'm curious how class with another teacher would be, but as long as I'm still learning - which I am - and making progress with my drawings, I'm happy. Not to mention the value in the fact that I know how to interpret what he's telling me, and he knows how to give me feedback in a way I'll understand. He also knows what I'm capable of and won't let me get away with anything less, which keeps me pushing even harder. Which is why, when he takes the rare moment to say something like "You've been doing nice work lately," like he did last class, it means even more.

So enough of the chattiness. How about some examples of what I've done this semester. In general, things I'm concentrating on getting better at are still shading, facial features/portraiture, and hands. You know, just some little things!

I've put a combination of things up, from long charcoal poses on charcoal paper, to quick gesture drawings, to short graphite drawings where we were concentrating on planes and not lighting. These are also generally in chronological order, so you can see how we've progressed from focusing on more basic techniques to the more complex lighting and shading with charcoal and white conte. I'm excited to see what further progress I make in the next month before the end of school, especially as I officially earn my (second) degree at the end of this semester!

As always, I love to hear any feedback, comments, critique you may have. Enjoy!

Update 11/23: I added my drawing from today's class since I'm really happy with how it turned out - especially since I usually get no inspiration from standing long poses, no matter how great the model is. It's amazing what a difference composition can make!

1 comment:

Liz said...

I agree that composition makes a huge difference! I also found that the use of white space as a compositional element in figure drawing can be quite fun. yes the focus is always (for me at least) on the figure but if you leave a space totally blank it can create an interesting contrast to the drawing itself. Great work, the progress in your stuff is awesome to see. I love how you're integrating white cante w/charcoal. It adds fun and interesting light elements.


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