Friday, 5 December 2014

Life Drawing, Belfast

When drawing the human form, one wonders why one would ever draw anything else. These studies were drawn during Colleen Barry's figure drawing workshop in Belfast. Five days to study form, light, and anatomy - an endurance test in its own way, not only for the model who stays in the same pose all week, but for the artists who get similarly stiff and sore.

End of day 1

I chose a back view for a change, although the shadow of the head was lovely from the front. But  my favourite thing was the light at the top of the model's head and on his shoulder. And I like a blady head. This view required sitting below the model, on a studio 'horse' or 'donkey' - this is a long stool rather like a woodworking bench, which has a hinged board to rest your drawing board and paper on. Basically it's as comfortable as you'd expect, if you sit on a plank for a week. 
But a bit of suffering for our art is all to the good...!

Twenty minute poses
Drawing the figure is one of the most satisfying, connecting experiences.  It is in no way sensual, even though someone in the room is naked. The word 'naked' impies a vulnerability - a life model isn't vulnerable, they are Nude. Modeling is extremely demandng on the body - try standing still for half an hour and see how you get on...  So even though it is not a sensual experience, life drawing is in fact intimate. There is intimacy in studying human form, like a contract between artist and model. 
End of day 2 (though the artwork is not so dark as it looks in this photo)

Twenty minute poses
We started each day with short poses of twenty minutes. As you can see, Robert has an arsenal of diffuclt-to-draw poses.  He clearly has an understanding of creating shapes with the body, to provide the artist with new folds and relationships on the page. this is the sign of a skilled model. 
Each one of the above drawings took twenty minutes. (just in case you thought I did all four in twnety minutes...) 
End of day 4

Twenty minute poses
More twenty minute poses. These were lovely poses, but we all wandered round bewilderedly trying to find the most manageable angle to draw from. We resigned ourselves to the fact that there were no easy angles, they were all just differently difficult. Some of them would have been great for an all-day pose. 
The last day, day 5, I added the front view of the model. 
Drawing is an intellectual act. Be in no doubt that the problem solving nature of observation drawing is good for your brain, your eyes, your appreciation of nature - and learning to draw well improves the intellect. We should all be doing it, more of the time...! 

Upcoming workshops: Oil painting, Belfast, Big Drawing Day. 
For info email