Posts tagged ‘life drawing’

Yep, Still Drawing Those Nudes And Loving It!

A few weeks ago I was tickled by some of the comments made about the recent nude figure drawings that I posted on Google+. They were from my weekly figure drawing session. Clearly it was the most engagement that I ever received from any post on social media and it generated the highest number of +1s.  For those who aren’t familiar with Google+, a +1 is the equivalent to the Facebook Like.

Most people were pretty complimentary but some were uncomfortable. One person commented stating that my drawings were nice but that they needed to block my post. Then another person asked, “….why do you always draw naked people?”

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Several years ago it would have never dawned on me to post nude drawings on the Internet. How things have changed! It was the year before last that marked the first time that I participated in figure drawing since college oh so many years ago. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it back then although admittedly the first time felt a little awkward. In the end, I found myself really concentrating on form and not so much on the model’s nudity.

I didn’t realize how much I still had to learn when it came to drawing the human form. I’ve kept at it and improved over time, experimenting with pencil, then pen, then pen on different color papers.

We Are “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.”

Have you ever considered the work that God created? Look at how we’re designed. Are we not a feat of engineering? Our anatomy is complicated and amazing. We are living vessels, comprised of tissue and muscle connected to bone by tendons. Every body part no matter how large or small has its own special role that contributes to the body’s overall make-up. Just as the universe is vast, so are our bodies with their moving parts.

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Now try putting all that on paper – arms, legs, hands, feet, torso, head – positioned from different angles. You could draw figures for decades and still find it engaging.

Clothing Can Take Away From The Subject Rather Than Add

With the addition of clothing it’s harder to capture the curves of the body if the model is wearing a shirt, pants, dresses or loose clothing.  I find it distracting.  With the nude form, you just see it for what it really is.

I also think that some clothing, depending on what it is and how it’s worn can actually be more provocative.

Appreciating Our Different Body Types

I love that we’re all built differently. I find it sad that we as a society are so hung up on what’s considered to be the perfect body – the washboard stomach with six-pack abs, and perfectly sculpted arms and legs. In reality, many of us have curves with visible tummies, thighs, wrinkles, and all other things that society views as imperfections.  The reality is that this more normal compared to the magazine and TV ads, where the model has been edited to death by Photoshop.

That’s why I’m thankful for the models with diverse body types who get out there and pose. They’re keeping it real.

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2014: My Year In Review

2014 was arguably my most productive year as an artist.  I spent most of it being gainfully unemployed but I used some of that free time to my advantage.   Here’s the list of things that I did this year:

It Sure As Heck Wasn’t Blogging

In spite of my extra time, I was too busy to blog even though 2014 was chock full of blog fodder.   My last post in November was probably the first blog post in months.  Much of my free time was spent looking for a job, or creating art.  In spite of that I still managed to increase my number of followers and I am grateful for that.

Photoshop

I think every artist needs to learn some type photo editing program. There’s a lot of wonderful free online tools out there such as Google-based programs Picasa and Pixlr.  I used those for a time but eventually began working with Photoshop. It’s a robust program and you do pay for that robustness in a “a second mortgage” kind of way.  Fortunately there’s a cloud based program where you can pay an affordable monthly fee.

I learned Photoshop by reading “Classroom In A Book” that also comes with exercises that you can download from the web.  I’m no expert but I am more knowledgeable about a program that intimidated me for quite some time. Also it ain’t a bad thing to have on your resume.

Discovered New Venues

So this is the accomplishment I’m most proud of.  This year I decided that every month I was going to have my work shown in some venue in Charlotte.    I came pretty close to achieving this goal.  Here are just a few of the venues. Not shown is my artwork at my eye doctor’s office or at the Paper Cut Gallery.

Charlotte Art League: Featured Artist of the Month
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Manor Theatre
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Beatties Ford Road Branch Library
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Twenty-Two
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How did I find these places?  I joined local arts organizations, attended art receptions, and networked with other artists. Social media sights such as Facebook and Twitter were great sources for finding out about local art happenings.  The more you start making connections the more opportunities make themselves available.

Created More Work Than Ever

The reason why I’m slow at making art is because I’m a procrastinator, often found surfing the net, eating, napping, watching TV programs and online shows; or God forbid, if the weather is really nice, doing some related outdoor activity. I don’t have the attention span to spend long hours in a studio.  This year my behavior was still the same but due to the additional time, I managed to create about 7 works compared to 3 to 4 pieces per year on average.

Red Hoodie (SOLD)
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Ninja

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Breakthrough

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Three French Hens
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The Perimeter
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Still
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Good and Mercy Shall Follow Me (SOLD)
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Sold More Art

Okay so I still need a day job but I did better this year than the previous two years.  While I only sold two originals, I had more success selling prints. Showing and selling at multiple venues gave me more visibility.

Drew More Consistently

The key to improvement is to draw, draw, draw.  I currently attend life drawing sessions on a weekly basis and have done so for about a year.  I began working in pencil and then after being inspired by an artist friend who worked in pen, I started working in that medium. I find that I’m actually more comfortable in pen than with pencil and I am also becoming less tentative with my strokes.

recliningnude2    reclining nude1

I also started doing “Right-Brained Sermon Notes,” that are visual notes I take on the sermon for Sunday service.  This type of thing isn’t a requirement for a ministry, I just enjoy doing it.  Once they’re finished I post them on Facebook.  A lot of people like them and it’s even caught the attention of some of the ministerial staff.

Sermon Notes 5.25.14 Sermon Notes 5.18.14a Sermon Notes 5.18.14

Found A Job (Albeit Temporary)

It’s one of those things that’s both exciting and disappointing at the same time. As I approached the last quarter of the year I became more and more frustrated about not finding any work. Severance and unemployment only last so long and then, gasp, you start tapping into that 401K. Fortunately a few months ago, I landed a long-term contract position to which I am still assigned to this day. The downside now is trying to find the time to make art.  I know of a fellow artist who lost her job this summer and I have to admit I’m a little jealous because of the extra time she now has to focusing on painting.   It almost makes me want to get laid off again – almost.

That sums up my year!  Looking forward to more adventures in 2015.

How Mighty Is The Pen?

For the past few months I’ve attended weekly free life drawing sessions hosted by Twenty-Two, a combined bar and gallery.  I practically break my neck to get there early in order to find the best seat.

For several weeks now I’ve been drawing the human form in pen.  Pen is scary and yet wonderful at the same time.  It gives the work some boldness, like an inked comic book.   To me it’s an unforgiving medium leaving little, if any room for mistakes. Ultimately, I had to attack it fearlessly with the understanding that I was going to make errors.  It was that feeling of, “Yeah, I screwed that up, so WHAT?”  It’s very liberating.

An artist who frequently works in pen told me that if you make a mistake, you just draw around it.  Well I took his advice to heart and drew around a LOT of stuff, although over time I seem to be doing less of that.  I’m nowhere near perfect with the pen, but I’m improving.  I’m also taking my time by studying the subject a little more in order to improve my accuracy.

One of my favorite things to do is to use crosshatching to define shading on the model and folds in the fabric covered props.  I can control how light or how dark I want to make the subject by drawing the crosshatching lines tight together or further apart.

 

Nude leaning  Nude one leg pose  Sitting nude

reclining nude1   recliningnude2

 Here are my tools,  a set of  four ballpoint pens  that I purchased from Office Depot.  Initially I was drawing the model in one color, however lately, I’ve been experimenting by using two different colors.
Pens

 

 

 

 

Portraitures

The other day I attended a monthly portraiture drawing session at the Mint Hill Arts Council.  The last time I drew portraits was back in college where the students took turns drawing each other.   The same format was applied at the arts council.  The artists did a pretty good job holding their poses for 20 minutes.   I was not a model in this particular round, although I probably would have embarrassed myself by falling asleep after sitting still for so long.

Portraitures are surprisingly difficult, harder to me than life drawing.   No two faces are alike and you really have to focus on the person’s unique features to capture their likeness.  Also I struggled a bit with the different angles of the face and head. The three-quarter profile typically gives me fits because of the placement of the mouth and eyes.

Here are the pics in the order of which I drew them. While I have a lot of work to do, I definitely improved as time went on.

Pat    Chuck

 Sherry  Bob

Back to the Basics: Life Drawing

A couple of weeks ago I attended a life drawing class at a local arts organization. I hadn’t taken one since I was college which was a lifetime ago.

I have to admit it was pretty humbling.  At first it felt as if I didn’t know how to draw people, especially women, a subject matter that is arguably my forte.  I typically can draw many poses out of my head.   In a life drawing class, however the feel is different because you are referencing a live model.  Often I would catch myself drawing on my own rather than studying the model’s poses. As a result, the figures would look a little stiff and unnatural.
Figure Drawing_0001
The major headache for me was drawing hands and feet. What a pain those were, but the best artists have learned how to master them. The next time I attend a figure drawing class I will make an point of isolating the hands and feet so that I can practice sketching them.

Our model was a pro. We started off with a few five minute poses, then ten minutes, then two twenty minute poses, and finally a thirty minute pose. I did improve over the course of the evening. Obviously the more time we had, the more I could focus on the details such as lighting and shading.

Figure Drawing_0002      Figure Drawing_0003

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The other thing I noticed was that I was tired when it was all over. Maybe it’s just me. I have a short attention span, even when attending to my own art. I will paint a line here or there, sometimes while watching a TV show or sporting event online.   In the class,  I had to exert a lot of mental energy over an extended period of time.

I’m looking forward to the portraiture class being offered by the same arts group so I can practice drawing the human face. Overall I would encourage anyone to take a life drawing class no matter how many years they’ve been drawing.  I was amazed at what I learned and actually re-learned from this experience.

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