Figure Drawing: Going Into the Quiet

December 29, 2010 in Figure Drawing by joanvienot

“Everything that’s created comes out of silence.  …All creativity requires some stillness.  Going into the quiet and listening will heal and inspire you.” ~Dr. Wayne Dyer

My art comes out of the quiet.  I require stillness.  It doesn’t usually bother me if someone makes a single statement while I am “in the zone,” but if they expect an answer from me, they might have a long wait, because the creative part of my brain, the visual  side, doesn’t communicate with words.  Early in the drawing session, thoughts may come in bits and pieces, feelings and memories or colors and echoes rather than words, and they gradually settle like leaves falling from a tree, leaving my mind empty and clear and clean.  This is when I can best achieve what I am trying to do, when what I see goes through the filter of Joan Vienot and manifests on paper.  That doesn’t mean it is a perfect representation of what everyone else would see, but rather a representation of my studies, my struggles, and my “me”.

Figure drawing is immediate, constrained by the short duration of the pose.  The hurried pace requires me to be wholly focused.  The “creative zone” is a very different state of mind.  I lose track of time and place.  The other artists cease to exist.  The model rapidly becomes a pattern of lines, shapes, textures and shadows, pure beautiful human form, no longer an individual, no longer a “naked person”.  I get lost in a silence of my own making.  There have been times I have looked up and seen someone’s mouth moving but not heard the sound.  It is always a rude awakening when the instructor or moderator announces the end of the pose.

Tonight Studio b. had a new model, a very fit woman.  Her health and vitality were inspiring.  Nevertheless, it is difficult “learning” how to draw a new model.  Graphic novelist Will Davis led us in a number of warm-up drawings and we concluded with a few longer poses and finally with a 35 minute pose.  I used white and garnet Nupastel on Canson Mi-Teintes paper (oyster) for this final pose.

Figure Drawing: Arms and Legs

December 25, 2010 in Figure Drawing by joanvienot

Our instructor, Heather Clements, suggested that we focus on arms and legs at our regular figure drawing session at Studio b. this week.  No matter what she gives us as a focus, I feel my overall awareness increasing.

I’ve been blogging about the process of drawing and the making of my art for close to a year now.  Warren Tape, my webmaster, is making some improvements in the design of my website, and in reviewing the changes so far, I went back and looked at some of my postings throughout the year.

I was a little surprised at the volume of work.  And I was pleased with the progression.  I had made a commitment to myself to go to figure drawing every Wednesday, and I’m glad I did.  I can’t say that figure drawing is ever easy — in fact it pretty much is always a challenge, and that’s what keeps it fresh and exciting to me.

Following are a few of the warm-up drawings from this week, and then a couple of drawings done later in the evening.  The drawing at the top of this post was also done later in the evening.  The sketches showing only the model’s head or arm are from the actual focus period in the middle of the session.

Figure Drawing with Graphite Wash

December 10, 2010 in Figure Drawing by joanvienot

Preliminary drawing using water-soluble graphite, prior to washing

Water-soluble graphite drawing after washing (Click for larger detailed image)

Both the process and the product of drawing are immensely appealing to me.  One of the reasons it is always a challenge is because there are so many variables between the nature of the drawing surface and the drawing implement itself.  I have started learning to use a water soluble graphite pencil, which makes marks that look the same as a regular soft graphite pencil, but will bleed and run when it is wet with plain water.  Above is a new drawing on the left, that I made this week, and on the right is how it looks after it has been brushed with a wet paintbrush.  I have allowed the grainy texture of many of the pencil strokes to show through, so that it still retains some of the quality of a drawing instead becoming a monochromatic painting.  (Ignore the blue tint in the drawing on the left — that’s just my impatience with my camera.)

Below are some other drawings I made at the regular weekly figure drawing session at Studio b. this week.  The first one is one of my favorites from this year.  I wish I could draw like this all the time.  I think I was inspired by the difficulty of the pose.  Our model was amazing.

Strong Light in Figure Drawing

December 2, 2010 in Figure Drawing by joanvienot

Sometimes things go easily in figure drawing.  Sometimes my hand-eye coordination is better, I am more focused, my mind is unstressed, and the drawings seem to just flow.  This week the figure drawing session at Studio b. was like that.

Sessions like this, coupled with last Saturday’s super-fun encaustic workshop, make me think maybe I should follow my bliss, take the leap, and start producing art fulltime.  I’m not prepared to sell anything from my website yet.  But a woman found my website through a standard search for figure drawings, and she purchased and framed two of my gesture drawings for her dining room.  She sent me a photograph of the decor — it looks great, and I am so pleased that she found joanvienot.com!  My webmaster, Warren Tape, is going to set up a store for me on this website, to make it easy to purchase my art.  I will have to start producing “more-finished” pieces.  I know that landscapes are more likely to sell — not everyone is comfortable with nudes or partial nudes.

This week instructor Heather Clements set up a strong light source, which gave us deep shadows and brightly lit areas.  The model wore a bright purple bathing suit bottom, and a bright red top.  It was the perfect excuse to use some pure color in my drawings.  I used washable graphite and watercolor pencil for my final 3 drawings, from 15-minute and 20-minute poses.

But I had fun with the warm-up drawings too.  The immediacy of the gesture, the artist’s first impression of the forms or lighting in the figure, sometimes makes a more powerful statement than a finished drawing or painting.  Following are some of my drawings from the first hour of the session.