The first international Women’s day was celebrated in 1908. A group of 15,000 women marched on New York streets, demanding their rights. Every year on 8th March the world joins in to support, raise, inspire and motivate women across all fields of work. The purpose of this day is to focus on themes such as innovation, portrayal of women in the media, or the importance of education and career opportunities.
There were no art classes – because of the holiday – for over a week. For some unexplained reason I began to wonder why I was taking drawing classes. Previous to retirement the only “extra-curricular” activities I did had a purpose – professional enrichment, teaching others, meeting requirements etc. I have no desire (we won’t talk about talent) to exhibit or sell nude drawings . . . For some reason, simply seeking personal enjoyment seemed strange at best and hollow at worst.
I’m still not sure why my disquiet and only share it wondering if you, too, have questioned just doing something simply for self-enjoyment?
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This model was known for his muscular, regal bearing. He has lost weight and thee is a vulnerability that wasn’t apparent before.
As a psychotherapist I knew that one of the biggest pitfalls of all relationships* was “seeing” others through the clouded lens of our own eyes. We humans tend to think everyone feels as we do and should understand what we know. It’s hard to take someone else’s position because we live in the bubble of our unique experiences and interpretations. In psychological terms it’s called projection. I was surprised to see this phenomena in artwork.
During the breaks in life drawing I noticed that many (not all) drew the model in “their own image”: Short students tended to draw the models legs too short; stocky students drew her a bit too stocky and; muscular students created muscular images.
Although all art, whether dancing, singing, painting etc. is ultimately a “projection” of the artist I’m wondering if what sets apart renowned artists from amateurs is a true reflection of the artist rather than an “accurate” rendition of the subject?
To read about the pitfalls of relationships click here:
My head has stopped throbbing, my nose has stopped running, my bronchials have stopped bronchialing, and I’m no longer contagious. Finally got back to life drawing classes just in time for my favorite model. She’s VOLUPTUOUS has long red disheveled hair and fun to draw.
These are all 20-minute poses done with conte crayon. The first and last drawings are my favorites.
The bad news: It’s 3 weeks and I’m still coughing my innards up
The good new (for my friends): Talking triggers the coughing
Here are my last life drawing sketches *Before Sick
Assignment was to focus on the shadows
This model always poses with “warrior” gear – helmets and swords and leather belts, fake arrows and red capes.
I undress him with my eyes cuz I don’t like helmets and swords, leather belts, fake arrows or red capes.
Don’t tell my husband I’m learning to undress men . . . he thinks I’m learning to draw.
I didn’t eat all the Cheerios in this box.
You can see the corrections in the left arm. Drawing is about making LOTS of corrections, just like life.
Here’s what 1-2 minutes warm-up sketches look like. Suppose to catch the “essence” of the pose – like movement, body position.
Tone on tone – My favorite
Here’s two life drawing class sketches for the price of one. Aren’t you lucky? . . . or what?
Above drawn on the back of cereal box. Hey! art supplies are expensive.
What a 2 minute warm-up sketch looks like (it’s what the sketch looks like, not necessarily the model)
This model was:
Not too tall, not too short
Not too thin, not too heavy
Not too beautiful, just lovely
20 Minutes sketches with charcoal on tinted paper
Just another day, just another nude man . . .
Charcoal Sketches on painter’s cheapie paper
10 & 20 Minutes poses
10 Minute pose – pencil sketch
(. . . and yes, he was wearing a turban and earrings)
This is the best of the lot. What? You didn’t think I’d post my sketches that look like they were drawn by a monkey?
I’ve figured out (pun intended) two things:
- I prefer drawing women or men with a bit of flesh on the bone. There are more curves and lumps which make it more fun to draw. Most of the models, like the one today, have beautiful “hard bodies”.
- Everything I do lately points to my limited concentration span. While others bemoan not having enough time to finish drawing during the 40 minute poses (two – 20 minutes with a break in-between for the model. Try sitting perfectly still for 20 minutes) I have done two or three drawings. I would prefer to think it’s not concentration span but it’s because I don’t particularly like “realism” and am not interested in getting an exact likeness . . .
Fall semester for the Emeritus classes just started. Found myself a bit rusty after not drawing for a few months . . .but nudity has a way of waking the senses .
As I posted these sketches I realized the model did not have a hair on his body ANYWHERE . . . except on his chin. Just goes to show how intently one looks at contours, lines and shadows when drawing, “nudity” isn’t the focus.
Last day of life drawing for this semester. I’ve missed several classes, something I would have been loathe to do in my high school and college years when I never ditched nor dropped a class.
I distinctly remember the first time I stopped attending a class simply because I no longer enjoyed it. Wish I could say it was a daring and rebellious move . . . it was a community college class that I was taking just for enjoyment. I was in my 40’s and high time for a bit of rebellion . . . don’t you think?
But I digress . . . here’s the best of the last sketches . . . in my opinion
All these sketches were 20 minutes or less. I’ve discovered that my attention span is smack dab in the national average of 20 minutes. Ah . . . the things you learn in drawing class.
Ai yi yiii – ever look up a word in the on-line “Urban Dictionary”?
I looked up “hatch” and was “blown away” by the uses . . . many of which I can not put in print on a G-rated blog . . . most of which I had never heard of nor heard spoken.
Why look up “hatch”, you wonder (or not)? In art class the focus was on hatching – an art technique where lines are drawn in various forms & intensities to create shapes & shadow.
These two quick sketches were done prior to Easter. Eureka! I thought: Hatching and eggs were perfect for an Easter blog post.
Then I got “hatched” – another fibromyalgia flare-up and I missed a week’s worth of art classes.
I’m still not feeling good and not pleased health issues keep hatching . . . but this chick got off her fibro-inflated rear and went to class this week.
I’ve been hatching . . .
P.S. Thanks Peggy A. for doing all the scheduled posting on CATNIPblog!
She is almost more attractive nude than clothed . . . which none of us students can say about ourselves!
A few 10 minute and 20 minute poses
She is Rubenesque and fun to sketch. I think she has the most sensual body of all the models we’ve had.
Not too very long ago, I thought that really good artists (writers included) got it exactly right the moment they laid pencil to paper. When I write posts I spend exponentially more time editing than on the first draft. When I draw I correct and correct and correct some more.
Not too very long ago, I learned that this is what 90% of artists, writers, dancers, singers etc. do . . . adjust, correct, redo, undo . . . and it never will be perfect. It’s knowing when to stop and move on.
It’s a great metaphor for life. We keep adjusting, correcting and practicing, knowing we can’t get it perfect . . . just better.
LOVE LOVE LOVE this model. She has curves.
Much more fun to draw than muscle & bone.
Warm-up poses, 5 minutes
There’s a phenomena going on in the sketching world called Urban Sketching. People, from all over the world, gather in public places and sketch whatever is in front of them .
You sketch fast, just trying to get an impression rather than an exact likeness. Coffee shops are a favorite place for Urban Sketchers because the people aren’t moving quite as quickly as on the street or a football field.
I live in the suburbs where life is a bit slower and so is the sketching. Here’s a few of my
Students in my drawing class
Woman waiting and waiting and waiting . . .
Whoops, wrong suburb
No further explanation needed . . .
Had a hard time concentrating and my arms were hurting when I tried to draw. I’m blaming it on the rain . . . a convenient fall-guy (pun intended). When my drawings don’t turn out as well as I would like I usually blame it on the model.
You can see some of the structure lines & corrections in these 2 minute sketches.
The model held onto a rope in the poses. We were suppose to concentrate on the angles.
These below were 20 minute poses but I could only draw for about 10 minutes.
Usually, I use large drawing paper and stand at an easel. This session I drew on a smaller sketch pad and sat down. I figured if the model could sit
so could I . . .
I am enjoying sketching the human form much more than inanimate objects or landscapes. It stands to reason that I chose to be a psychotherapist rather than a landscape architect.
Here’s my latest sea-scape
and here’s my latest See !
He kept moving his right arm . . .
First week of art classes. It’s amazing how “rusty” I felt after just 4 weeks of not drawing. The model had not ONE ounce of fat anywhere on his body.
I decided to push myself a bit and drew a few quickies using pen & ink. Ink is a bit intimidating since I can’t ERASE.
I drew him to look like an old man! . . . in my defense his head was shaved . . .
Not only didn’t the model have an ounce of fat anywhere on his body he didn’t have an ounce of hair anywhere . . . at least not in the places I saw . . .
The last class for this semester – I continued to play with water-color pencil.
I tend to draw the heads too small . . . or . . . another way of “looking at it” . . . I make the bodies too big. Then again, he is a big guy.
The uneven jaw line is reflective of his beard and mustache.
During the break in the life-drawing class a few of us talked to the model. She said most people had no idea what life drawing was and believed that nude modeling was akin to porn! When asked what she did for a living her answer was “posing for people who were learning anatomy”.
First, It never occurred to me that most people weren’t familiar with life drawing. Second, her answer made sense. When drawing a nude model students are intensely focused on the anatomy, the line & shading that emphasizes or de-emphasizes the muscle structure, the curve of the spine and the “personality” of the pose – not on nudity.
It’s a bit like reading an engrossing story. Your focus is on the plot line, the images created, the messages conveyed, not whether the” book” is hard-covered, paperback or on a tablet.
I was pleased with this sketch as it catches the likeness of the model.
Wasn’t so pleased with this sketch so I took out colored crayons and just scribbled. Still not pleased but it was fun!
New model – not an ounce of body fat on the boy. The majority of students are well into their 60’s. I made note of how many of the women asked him to return to model ! . . I myself prefer the models with a bit of ballast around their belly. Gives me more room for error.
This class I ventured out of my comfort zone, put away eraser and went for it with permanent ink and no preliminary sketch in pencil.
Notice the box? I keep trying to draw within the box so the figure doesn’t run off the page. Here’s my result!
If you are an art buff or interested in the psychology of nudes read this article Why The Nude Still Shocks. Not only is it interesting it underscores my past reluctance to put up the sketches of men as opposed to women. (see Equal Opportunity Nudes)
The model this week was male but he was wearing this warrior “get-up” that the men in the class seemed to enjoy drawing , . . must be a testosterone “thing”. I say “TAKE IT OFF!”
Clothed! The model was clothed! I actually found it easier sketching nude people with no distractions . . . like folds of fabric and print patterns and color.
The model had on an elaborate costume with intricate patterns and gold threads. I tried to eliminate all the “distractions”. Here’s my first attempts at using water-color pencil.
Jokingly, I asked the model if she would take her clothes off. She replied, “Will you?”
My friend Peggy and I are working on a new project to share our stash of therapeutic strategies, tips and tricks on the internet. In my exuberance, “playing” with settings for the new web-site, I mistakenly changed the theme setting for this blog . . . and can’t figure out how to change it back again . So Curious to the Max has a new look, in case you didn’t notice.
And in case you didn’t notice we had a new model in class. All these sketches were 15 minutes done with water-color pencil.
There are two “fronts” and two “backs” (She was sitting on a poofy cushion).
AND in case you don’t see the connection between my blog change and my sketches: Clicking a button on the computer and irreversibly changing the blog template is like drawing with water-color pencil. I can’t erase or correct either of them.
Take a peek at the entire class from the beginning 2 minute sketches to the 20 minute poses.
Tried water-color pencil for the first time. Discovered it doesn’t ERASE so the first go over needs to be very light.
This model was great. She was more voluptuous than most and I didn’t have to draw muscles!
In the sketch below I used an old piece of cardboard backing. If you look you can see the water stains from years past.
For the last pose the model put clothes on . . . probably because I couldn’t get her breasts symmetrical!
I may take these drawings and experiment some more with the water-color.
(Well, not actually “worser” but I try to avoid trite phrases like “bigger and better”.)
In case you’ve not noticed . . . my drawings all go off the page. I don’t mind the aesthetics of that but I want to be able to do it “by design”. I try framing, measuring, planning . . . as the drawing progresses the limbs or head (or both) end up off of the paper.
The life drawing teacher suggested I get a BIG board to work on a BIG piece of paper to get the entire torso on the page. So much for bigger . . .
(Showing my hand on the paper to give you a sense of the scale).
Since my “vertigo episode” I’ve been in a fibromyalgia flare-up, complete with exhaustion. Today I peeled myself out of bed, put on my best duds and went to class to draw a dude. Can you guess which one is me?
After spending 3 hours drawing a nude dude this is what I looked like . . .
Ten days into walking like a drunken sailor without the drink or the sailing. My husband drove me to art class. It was nice to get out of the house. The vertigo is much better but I’m still a bit wobbly.
At first, looking back and forth from the model to the drawing pad was a bit disorienting and I was very tired after class – probably because my brain was working hard to compensate.
The focus for this session was using brown wrapping paper, black and white charcoal.
Edward Albee died the other day at 88. He was a Pulitzer prize-winning playwright. He intensely disliked it when asked what his plays were about but finally explained:
“If anybody wants me to say it, in one sentence, what my plays are about: They’re about the nature of identity. Who we are, how we permit ourselves to be viewed, how we permit ourselves to view ourselves, how we practice identity or lack of identity.” Edward Albee
Most of the models in the life drawing classes have been posing for a long time. They come equipped with props and pillows and strike dramatic poses that I defy anyone in “real” life to take . . . unless you’re an exotic dancer.
Art teachers explain that drawing isn’t about what the hand is doing it’s about training our eye to see what it actually sees rather than the internal image of what we THINK we see.
Right now my drawings are about trying to learn to view shapes and shadows, lines and limbs . . . and hopefully have my hands follow. Someday, it would be nice to say the same thing Edward Albee said . . . that my drawings are about the nature of identity.
Sara Blakely’s embrace of failure has helped make her the youngest self-made female billionaire in America. She invented Spanx (body-shaping undergarments – the modern version of the corset and girdle).
When she was growing up, her father would often ask her the same question at dinnertime.
“What have you failed at this week?”
I was AGHAST – failure!? What a horrible father. Everyone knows we are supposed to focus on and revel in success. She went on to say:
“My dad growing up encouraged me and my brother to fail. The gift he was giving me is that failure is (when you are) not trying versus the outcome. It’s really allowed me to be much freer in trying things and spreading my wings in life.”
What a novel idea! Embrace failure as a sign of taking risks, learning and growing. Failure is a victory not a defeat.
“The fact that I had never taken a business class, had no training, didn’t know how retail worked,” she said. “I wasn’t as intimidated as I should have been.”
I read her interview just before my life drawing class. It was liberating!! I gave myself permission to fail at trying to draw perfect likeness, perfect proportions, perfect shading.
My new motto: Fail Away!
. . . it’s never too late to become the oldest self-made billionaire in the United States.
New semester for art classes just started. Here are my best sketches (you didn’t think I’d post my worst, did you?). I particularly am pleased with the first as I managed to catch the likeness of the model.
The last life drawing class for this semester. Everyone brought food for a potluck – dips & chips, chocolate, cookies, cake, fruit – it was quite a spread. We’ve had this model before.
After staring at her flat abs for 3 hours I disciplined myself and only ate the fruit.
One of the students saw the above drawing laying on the floor on its side and said it looked like a landscape.
I came home feeling out of shape and deprived. So I ate 3 peanut butter and honey sandwiches (needed protein after all that fruit).
Been doing and redoing drawings to amuse myself. These were originally quick sketches from life drawing. I “colorized” them trying to teach myself how to use pastel. It’s easier to practice on sketches I was going to throw away because there’s nothing to lose!!
Sorry, I’ve been blogged-out for so long. I know, I know, yet another sorry-I’ve-been-gone-for-so-long-post.
BUT I decided today is a brand new beginning. “BUT” literally and figuratively. (For those of you who are squeamish scroll down to the nude part because I begin with the BUTT . . . mine to be exact.)
Just had a colonoscopy. The bad news – I didn’t have a very good day yesterday. The good news – I lost 4 pounds. The bad news – I have wasted today sleeping. The good news – I don’t remember a thing.
Now that I’m squeaky clean it’s time for a new start – Going to go back to cutting out (maybe down) on refined sugar & carbs and cutting up on the internet.
Here’s my latest sketches. I start with my favorite: