Our model this week at Studio b.‘s regular weekly figure drawing session stood on a ladder during the warm-up drawings and the shorter warm-up poses, and she also posed up on a table. Usually our model is on a short platform or even on the floor, so this change in perspective was a rare treat. I enjoyed the challenge of drawing from a lower vantage point. Every shape was different from how we normally see our model. To add to the challenge, we positioned a floodlight to light her from below.
The model brought a hat, a mask, and a necklace to give us some accents.
I used some different media to loosen up from the intense figure drawing workshop Heather Clements taught last Saturday at Studio b. I had not sketched since Saturday, and I felt like I had really tightened up, hence my decision to use less familiar media, to force myself to “let go”. Interesztingly, I think my most successful piece of the evening was one of these looser pieces, using water-soluble Aquarelle pencil on hot press watercolor paper, the study of the model wearing the mask, above left. It is small, only 4½” x 6″.
I throw away almost all of my warm-up drawings. Colleen Duffley, owner of Studio b., suggested saving more gestures, explaining to me that some people have more appreciation for anonymous gestures than for finished drawings of a model they don’t know. This poses a dilemma. I do so many warm-up drawings, or gestures, that I always use an inferior grade of paper, for the sake of economy. Newsprint and manilla paper costs just pennies, as opposed to good paper which can run from $1.65 to $3.50 per sheet, and upwards. So the few times that a warm-up drawing turns out to be a keeper, its value is compromised because of the poor quality of paper. It can be redrawn on archival paper, but that is a challenging task because the immediacy of expression, the passion, will be difficult to recreate. So I decided to bring a tablet of 18 x 24 Canson Cream that I had bought a good 6 months ago, and I did all of my warm-up drawings on good paper. I missed the rough texture, or “tooth” of the manilla and gray bogus papers I usually warm up on — the tablet of good paper is very smooth.
Below left is one of my warm-up drawings, a 5 minute pose, and the other two are longer poses on Stonehenge and Rives.
Most of my images are available for purchase. Contact me if you are interested. — Joan Vienot