Last Wednesday evening was “open studio” at Studio b., which is to say that we did not have a scheduled instructor. The tentative plan is to schedule guest artists on the third Wednesday of every month, and open studio if a guest isn’t scheduled. One of the regular figure drawing artists, Steve Wagner, was asked if he would share his approach to the figure with the group, and he said he would and he asked me to also. I laughingly referred to our session as Dueling Pencils, since we were presenting together.
Each week the artists warm up with a number of 30-second gesture drawings, progressing to one-minute, then two-minute, and perhaps 5-minute or 10 -minute drawings before we move on to longer poses. By doing these quick poses, we “wake up”, improving our hand-eye coordination, learning what the model looks like, and trying to remember how to draw.
Steve and I each talked for a minute and then we each demonstrated a 30-second gesture. Steve’s gestures actually map out the landmarks and the masses of the figure, whereas my 30-second warm-up drawings are little more than a vague scribble, usually way out of proportion and perhaps only suggesting the angles of the body and limbs and the general directional line of the figure.
When we advanced to the 2-minute gestures, Steve and I each showed and talked about our gestures, and everyone turned their papers outward towards the center and showed their efforts. It is interesting to see how the other artists approach the figure — that’s one of the values of practicing in a group. Sometimes I am lucky, turning out a gesture that might have a sense of completion without further development. I felt like that happened with my first 2-minute gesture, shown above left.
Our model had ballet experience, and it showed in her poses, especially with the positions of her hands and feet, and her attitude, in the tilt of her head. We were channeling a little Degas, I think.
The two works I have posted below are 30-minute drawings from later in the session. The last one is drawn with watercolor pencils which I finished later in my studio at home.