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Opposite Points of View: Figure Drawing at Studio b.

Joan Vienot: Nupastel on Gray
Heather Clements: Ink and Wash

I was a few minutes late getting to figure drawing at Studio b. this week.  All the “good spots” were taken so I set up my easel in the last available place.

But then, what a treat, to find that the way the light was coming in through the window and backlighting the model, he was fairly glowing, for every pose.  My “less-than-perfect” easel location gave me poses with silver linings.

For this pose, I drew the strong highlights with white on gray paper, and then worked in the dark values with black, leaving the gray paper showing for some of the midtones.

Heather Clements was drawing on the opposite side of the room, so her poses were almost completely brightly lit, with the shadow pattern of the window bars criss-crossing the model.  One of her drawings is at right.  This is one of the fun aspects of figure drawing — the same pose, drawn at the same time, will be markedly different from one artist to the next.  The multiple points of view provide a more complete appreciation of the form and the conditions experienced by the artists as a group.

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Figure Drawing with my niece Caitlin Polasek

Graphite on Stonehenge, by Caitlin Polasek
Graphite on gray, Joan Vienot

This week I had the pleasure of drawing beside my talented niece, Caitlin Polasek.   She and my two sisters and their husbands are vacationing here near Seacrest Beach this week.  Caitlin is studying art at Colorado State University.  Her drawing is pictured at right.

The figure drawing session at Studio b. was well attended, with 12 or 13 people drawing, and one making fabric art.  It is always such a pleasure, working beside talented and enthusiastic artists.

We continued with our focus on creating depth.  The instructor, Heather Clements, had the model position herself so that each pose presented the artists with some part of the figure that required foreshortening.

Watyercolor pencil on Stonehenge, Joan Vienot

The poses were longer.  It’s interesting how much of a difference there is between a 15-minute pose and a 25- or 30-minute pose.  The shorter poses force me to work faster than I otherwise would, so I certainly understand the value of the short poses. But it seems like it takes me 14 of the 15 minutes to get the basic gesture correct, so a 30-minute pose feels like pure luxury, giving much more of a sense of accomplishment.

Since my niece is interested in fabric arts, it was serendipitous that LaRhonda Whitmire came to our session to work on a fabric piece she is doing.  She dyed her silk on a dropcloth on the floor, just wanting to be around other creative people while she worked.  I think this is the idea Colleen Duffley had when she thought up Studio b., a venue where creative people can meet and multiply each others’ energy.

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Guest Artist at Studio b: Rae Broyles

The guest artist series at Studio b is such a treat.  This week we were privileged to have Rae Broyles as our guest artist for the figure drawing session.  Rae is a likable, enthusiastic, and engaged professional artist and instructor.  In between instruction and critiquing, she drew along with us.  Our new model was irresistible.

Rae Broyles will be presenting a workshop on encaustic painting at Studio b. on July 10, 2010.  She showed us some of her work, and talked to us about the process of  painting with hot colored wax, scraping, scratching, and re-painting.

Rae started our figure drawing session with warm-up gesture drawings using wax crayons, with the model changing poses every 30 seconds.  Then we did a few 5-minute poses, and then some 15-minute poses.  I think the final pose was 30 minutes, with a break midway through.  We started each drawing with light-value colors, and then refined it with darker value colors.  I drew with the wax crayons up until the end, and then I switched to white nupastel on black charcoal paper.

We drew in the pool courtyard at Studio b., with the pool behind the model, the water features providing the background sound.  Colleen Duffley, the owner of Studio b., offered wine or beer or water to the artists, and spent a little time with each one, talking while they worked, or just complimenting and encouraging.  Then she tried out some sparkling lights in the pool, getting ready for the studio’s part in the annual Digital Graffiti event which will be throughout the village of Alys Beach this-coming Saturday night.

The whole setting was very intimate, perfect for what we were doing.  There is nothing like being absolutely comfortable during the creative process.

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Figure Drawing: The Illusion of Depth, continued

We continued to work with creating the illusion of depth in our figure drawing session at Studio b. again this week.  Instructor Heather Clements reviewed the 4 ways we had been practicing:   size and perspective or foreshortening, degree of development, Mach bands, and value or color contrast.  Our model held a long pose at the end of the session, and I focused on her face in my final drawing.

I love when a face shows elements of one’s life, giving a glimpse of the joys and laughter over the years, and sometimes the pain and fatigue.  This model has a novel in her face.  I wish I had the skill to do it justice.

I drew slowly on this night.  From the beginning of the session to the end I was frustrated with how quickly the poses were over.  I had difficulty clearing my head.  This week marks  the beginning of tourist season here in sunny Northwest  Florida, when my pool service business, my day job, starts occupying my mind 24/7.

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