Letting Go

February 23, 2012 in Figure Drawing by joanvienot

It was difficult to let go of whatever was on my mind so I could draw last night.  The room at Studio b. was already set up when I got there, so there really was no reason for me not to be able to clear my mind.  Garrett had my easel standing where I usually stand, and he already had the model’s stand set up, with a tip jar put out, and several chairs were set up around the room for other artists.  Music was playing, as always.

We didn’t warm up quite as long as we usually do, because one of the artists was going to have to leave early, so we jumped right into some longer poses after only four 2-minute warm-ups.  But I don’t think that was the issue — I just kept an undercurrent of distraction going the whole night, about nothing of any consequence.

I wasn’t particularly happy with my drawings, so for the last pose I took out my 5″ x 7″ watercolor blocks and made a couple of small pen-and-ink-wash drawings with water soluble ink.  I made 2 drawings from one half-hour pose.  They are pictured above.

My other drawings are pictured below.

Most of my images are available for purchase.  Contact me if you are interested. — Joan Vienot

Figure Drawing with Music in my Head

February 16, 2012 in Figure Drawing by joanvienot

The room was quiet as we drew at Studio b. this week.  The model was extraordinary, performing poses during our one-minute and three-minute warm-up period that would have taxed an accomplished yogi.  We warmed up with gesture drawings for about half an hour, before drawing a few 10 and 20 minute poses, and then finally a 45 minute pose.  I’ve been enjoying a combination of white nupastel with black graphite for a while now, but in my final drawing I opted for a blue pencil with the white nupastel, at left.  The form was very simple from my vantage point, for the most part being only a silhouette with very little modeling.  Her shoulder blade was prominent, and there was a highlight on the muscle edging her spine, so I put a little more emphasis on her hair and the fabric she was lying on, to provide textural contrast.

The night before, I had listened to Amber Rubarth performing there at Studio b., in the courtyard below our figure drawing room.  Her music was still playing in my head as I drew.  I videotaped a few of her songs, but I don’t yet know how to upload them from my whiz-bang new iPhone, so here’s a link to a previous performance by Amber:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Mn9VtIFM0g.

I made a mistake on the drawing pictured at right, something I know I should never do.  I had torn a corner of the page off, to give to another artist who wanted to order the kind of paper I was using.  Then I kept that paper, to draw on.  I’d been carrying it around for several weeks, and last night I decided to draw on it, without trimming off the torn corner.  I used the rest of the borders as my boundaries, treating the torn corner as if it wasn’t torn.  Now that the drawing is completed, I see that I would have to mat out or trim off that torn corner, and with it, lose other essential parts of the drawing.  Since there is excess paper on another side, I think a good framer might be able to patch it, but the patch would show, upon close inspection.  So I have priced it as a sketch, even though the drawing turned out exactly as I wanted it.  Lesson learned, hopefully — If a corner is missing, always trim the paper to square up that corner before using it.

If you are interested in having any of my drawings or sketches, contact me on the contact form through this website.

Figure Drawing: Commitment to Practice

February 3, 2012 in Figure Drawing by joanvienot

After warming up with two-minute, 5-minute, and 20 minute drawings, I spent the last hour of the figure drawing session drawing the model clothed, in her blue jeans and her brightly colored shawl.  I had noticed her shawl when she first arrived.  I was the only artist this week, braving the rainy weather, so I had my choice of pose and costume.  I worked with watercolor pencils, which brighten and get runny when wet with clear water spray or brush wash.  I used the watercolor pencils without water while drawing there at Studio b., waiting until I got back to my home studio to do the wet work.

There is a lot to be said for making a commitment.  My commitment, a couple years ago, was to myself, to participate in the weekly sessions at Studio b., making them my highest priority for Wednesday nights.  It has paid off, in that I learn another new aspect of figure drawing every week.  I rarely use color in my figure drawings, so this week when I did, I was very uncomfortable, several times making the decision not to tear it up and start over with my usual white nupastel and graphite, which I very much wanted to do.  I achieved the delicious color-texture of the shawl, and managed to show the slightly worn character of the jeans, but I need to return to her face and try to refine her features.

Below are a few of the warm-up sketches from earlier in the session.

Most of my images are available for purchase.  Contact me if you are interested. — Joan Vienot