Figure Drawing without the Model

March 6, 2011 in Figure Drawing by joanvienot

In the last post I showed the drawing above left, which I was unable to finish during the 30-minute pose.  I worked on it a little this evening, to give the hair, arms, and hands some form.   Without seeing the light on the form, I suppose my effort is passable, but the experience was hollow.  It felt like mere craftsmanship as I worked in my studio, without the power and intimacy of a live figure drawing session.

Unless the artist is there to talk about the work, ordinarily the viewer of a piece of art is far removed from the process — all he or she sees is the product.  But for me as the artist, at least 50% of the value of a figure drawing is in the process, in the capture of light and shadow across the living form.  Otherwise, why attend organized sessions and pay a model?  After all, there are countless photographs of people in every conceivable position, if it were just a matter of transposing a form onto the paper.  My joy is in the moment, with the actual lighting, the model, and the creative energy of the group.

All that said, I wish I had a photo so I could have finished the head and arms with more confidence!