Guest Artist at Studio b: Eileen West

February 5, 2010 in Figure Drawing by joanvienot

Henri Matisse - Nude at the Mirrow - 1937

Henri Matisse - Nude at the Mirror 1937

Eileen West was the guest artist at Studio b this week, the first in a series.  She gave a presentation about her approach to the figure, and she referenced Henri Matisse, in particular his Nude at the Mirror (shown at right).  She pointed out how Matisse did not strive for accuracy or for tonal expression of the form in this drawing and yet it conveyed such emotion.  She quoted Picasso as saying that he spent 4 years learning to paint like Rafael, and the rest of his life learning to paint like a child.

She asked us to try to express emotion in our drawings and she asked us to look at the entire setting, not just figure and ground, and not to get stuck on absolute accuracy.  I thought it was easier to express emotion when we were warming up with 1-minute gestures, but more difficult when the model held sustained poses.  Eileen said to consider everything she said to be lies, but I knew she spoke her truth and I felt privileged that she shared it with us.

My first drawing here adds in some of the elements of the studio and makes almost no attempt at modeling, sort of Matisse-y, although any inaccuracy in the contours was unintentional.  In the second drawing, I just emptied my mind and went with the moment.

After Eileen's presentation 1

After Eileen's presentation 2

Eileen West, of Seagrove Beach, FL, was our guest artist at studio b this week.  She talked about being aware of the entire setting, and encouraged us to incorporate the setting into our drawings, as opposed to ordinary figure/ground drawings.  She showed us some slides of art by Henri Matisse, including this one pictured, Nude at the Mirror, to exemplify how he incorporated the surroundings and was not very worried about exact accuracy, and not at all worried about modeling of form.  She quoted Picasso as saying he spent 4 years learning to draw like Rafael, and the rest of his life learning to draw like a child.