Friday, March 6, 2009

Life Drawing at Latcham Gallery--It's a Man


I hate to sound so excited, but quite frankly, it's a rare occurrence to have a male model. Way back when in art college, I'd say 95% of the models where female. In fact, I remember, and probably only saw, the same three men in my numerous life drawing classes. One of them we all spontaneously nicknamed Jesus. It was hard not too, as he was rail thin and bearded and looked very much those most emaciated renditions of Jesus on the cross in classical art. We all dreaded his presence, given that his angularity made him difficult to draw and less than aesthetically pleasing. There were two more, one of them bland and blond and as exciting as white bread, and the other darker (hair, not skin colour) with a decently muscular body and but a less than attractive face. Given that kind of harsh scrutiny, I may have answered my own question as to why males so rarely model. Yikes! I'm judgemental! I wonder if the men in art classes make the same assessments on the women? Are women so accustomed to being looked at and objectified that posing as 'artist model' is a definite 'step up'? Or is it something more basic; that men have more reason to be embarrassed when put into this situation (don't you dare ask me to explain why). Whatever it is, male models are rare, and it's no wonder that I find them much harder to draw. Other artists in the session said the same thing. Practice is essential, so my kudos to all the men brave enough to bare all to the arts community, however exposed that leaves you. You deserve more thanks than I've given in the past.
That said, this model was gosh-darned charming and good-looking, so the session was a rare treat.

Image: 9"x12" Mi-Teintes paper (oatmeal) & coloured pencil (Prismacolor). This is the first nude I've cropped, for one simple reason--genitals. That's it, even the word barely passes the library test for me (and thankgoodness I don't have google-ads, who knows what would crop up), so call me a prude, but I thought it would be better to give you, the viewer, a choice. To see the entire drawing, click here where I've posted it on the wetcanvas forum (you'll have to scroll down; I couldn't upload the picture and needed to find someone to do it for me). I really like Wetcanvas policy on nudes. You just add a little bare-butt icon to your post, and people can chose not to look, and nothing need be censored or mislabelled adult content. Sorry, I absolutely do not consider art nudes to be adult content. It's not like we have age restrictions for art galleries either. Enjoy--or not.

18 comments:

The Empty Envelope said...

Very lovely drawing! Interesting questions as well.

kaslkaos said...

Good morning Empty Env.; & thank you again for compliments (what's not to love???). I'm surprised too at all the questions this topic has brought up in my own mind. I have no problem with drawing nudes; and great respect for the models, but posting the results to the general forced me to think alot about how what to me looks normal and decent vs how others may see the same subject matter.

Jennifer Rose said...

you did a great job with the drawing :)

"Are women so accustomed to being looked at and objectified that posing as 'artist model' is a definite 'step up'? "

possibly. female nudity seems to more accepted then male, and whether that is because its seen more or its because the female form can be ogled so much is hard to say. could come down to that there is a lot of art that is of the naked female form so people are more use to seeing it and posing for it doesn't seem like an odd thing to do.

"that men have more reason to be embarrassed when put into this situation"

they we looking for male models in the paper for the Uni last year and the info said that if those "situations" kept happening they would be asked to leave. Can't fight nature but I guess there would be a point it would be um...distracting

not posting the genitals doesn't make you a prude, just playing it safe. To me nudity is no big deal but I know there are people that don't like looking at it, even if its art (and then you get into the discussion of whats art and whats porn)

kaslkaos said...

Jen, great discussion (I can always count on you) & getting right to the point. I've never 'seen' 'those situations' but I know male models are terrified of the prospect. Had a male friend who modelled and he said the shere terror was enough to keep things 'down' so to speak. Newbies are easilly identified; the first few sessions they blush a bright cherry red. Jeepers, it really does take a brave man to be model.
& yes, turns out, I was more insecure about posting a male. Glad I did, though. Interesting discussion.

Rootedbeauty said...

Hi Kaslkaos! I just wanted to stop by and say thanks for your wonderful comments on and about my blog! I was browsing yours as well and you have a lot of interesting topics going on here. Looking forward to future posts!

José said...

Hi,

I find the end of the title "it's a man" somewhat funny, for if it was a woman,well...aesthetic surgery ? :-)

Take care,

José
P.S. did I write the word "aesthetic" correctly?
Heck ! Maybe I should have writen aesthetical ?

kaslkaos said...

Thanks rootedbeauty; you deserve those compliments. I have trouble staying on topic here, but it's mostly art & nature in one aspect or another.
Jose, as far as that 'a' word, you're on your own for spelling; if it wasn't for spell-checker, I'd get it wrong every time. Glad to know it turns someone else's head around too. And, hey, I'll leave my man manly. And I do find men aesthetically pleasing, but does the public find male nudity somehow more threatening?

Michelle (artscapes) said...

Fantastic drawing...

I think the curvier nature of women is more pleasant to draw - and to view. That said - i NEVER once had a male model in Life Drawing in college....

kaslkaos said...

Thanks Michelle, always love your input. You missed out. I still think you can't learn to draw men by looking at women (at least I had trouble). Of course, I have a book that outlines the major differences, but even the poses, stance, centre of gravity and attitude is different. So now I'll count myself lucky. As for those aesthetics, depends on the man in front of you. ;-)

Jennifer Rose said...

"As for those aesthetics, depends on the man in front of you. ;-)"

lol so very true

kaslkaos said...

I'm just thinking this post is a kaslkaos blog record for # of comments. Nothing like a naked man to bring on the controversy (sorry, I just couldn't resist).

Jennifer Rose said...

more men should be naked. ok maybe not every man.....:p

it is an interesting discussion though, with probably so many reasons why there are not that many male models compared to female. I would have thought most life drawing classes would have you draw both sexes, I do think to draw the human form, that you can't learn to draw either sex without practising with both. Well you could end up with either really manly women or really feminine men if you never really drew the opposite sex. (and it is a good thing you don't have google ads, cause yeah would be afraid what would come up now lol)

kaslkaos said...

Hey, maybe I should try google ads just to see what comes up??? (pun intended).
As for practicalities, though, male models are much needed (and probably always appreciated). For the longest time, I couldn't draw a man that didn't look girlie, and to draw people, I really need to know exactly what's underneath the clothes or the clothing just won't look right either.

rosalie said...

i've also seen and drawn a lot of 'naked bodies' in my nude course and so i only can agree with you when you say it's often much more difficult to draw a male body.. i guess it's a bit like when you draw the female curves the eyes doesn't notice what's right or wrong- it just realizes the aesthetic curvature.. but when there's a model on front of you, no matter if male or female, which is more skinny the eye is always caught and captured by the underlying anatomy- i think that's why it is more difficult to be drawn, cause of the must of precision..

but, nevertheless- i love to draw male or in general, thin bodies. they also can be so aesthetic, expressing so much vulnerability..

kaslkaos said...

Rosalie, I think your observation about ease/vs difficulties of female/male drawings is correct.
What you say for the value of thin models is very valueable. I hadn't thought of the aspect of vulnerability and how much that could say.

Penguen said...

I wondered the same thing. Our teacher even gave us a little talk before our male model came saying that we need to be mature and not comment on his endowments or lack there of.
Total thinking of this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_CtenzVe4A

kaslkaos said...

Please tell me this was highschool? I would expect college students not to require a talk. Oh my, talk about bringing attention to the subject.
Poor guys, no wonder so few model.
PS. is this a video I can watch at a library? I need their access to view youtube and now I'm curious.

Jennifer Rose said...

probably not ;) (stuff is hinted, not really shown) worth a laugh tho :p

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