I forgot how to draw.

April 5, 2011 in Figure Drawing by joanvienot

A couple of months ago at Studio b., we drew a model who was 8½ months pregnant.  If you read my blog post about it, you know that I was thrilled.  I didn’t think anything could top it.  But this week, the young mother brought her baby to model with her.  It was an unbelievable experience, and I forgot how to draw.  The poses were determined by the mother and her sense of the baby’s composure.  Some of the poses were 5 minutes, some were 10, and some were 20 minutes.  Our instructor, Heather Clements, did not forget how to draw, and in fact completed a number of beautiful captures of the mother and child bond, which she posted at the end of her blog last week.  The best one showed the mother sitting cross-legged, holding the baby close.  Heather was on fire.  I think she had that one completed while I was still trying to choose something to draw with.   I am posting a couple of mine, but you can see that I was overwhelmed and didn’t get very far.

The day before that, was the fourth session of the Charlotte Arnold portrait and head studies workshop I have been taking.  Charlotte suggested that we try to draw the portrait life-size or smaller, but mine ended up being sized at 150% again.  I drew and redrew several of the model’s features, and decided that I probably need new eyeglasses.  I re-drew some of the same lines wrong 6 or 7 times.  Many years ago, I taught drawing and painting in a high school in Colorado for 3 years before I moved to Florida.  I would tell my students not to erase the wrong line until after they had drawn it right, or they would draw the wrong line over and over again.  I proved that in this drawing.  Nevertheless, there are parts of it that actually resemble the model, if you don’t count her left eye which looks black-and-blue and swollen.

Today was the last day of the portrait workshop.  I decided the way to make the drawing life-size or smaller, was to plan to put some of the figure in as well.  I didn’t get very far into the figure, but I am pleased with the progress so far.  I expect that the figure will be fairly sketchy so that the focus is entirely on the head.  Maybe the hands should be developed, as long as they don’t compete with the face.

After the portrait class was over, we did a little show-and-tell of our drawings throughout the class.  Everyone showed remarkable improvement.

Charlotte gave us hand-outs at every single class, which demonstrated tips and techniques for proportioning and drawing different parts of the face.  She showed us examples in books that she had found helpful in her own drawing.   I have enough homework to last me another 6 months!  One of the books Charlotte showed us was The Intimate Eye – The Drawings of Burton Silverman. I had not seen Silverman’s work before, but I appreciate his style and have been trying for a long time to learn to draw in that same style.  Burton Silverman is my new favorite artist.