Thursday, October 7, 2010

Natural Beauty—figure drawing

available at Etsy

Life Drawing Tuesday is back.and I’m in for another ten weeks.  Ursula was the model for class #2, and she was fabulous.  All of her poses where dynamic and inspiring and the fact that she was beautiful was undeniable. She was a natural beauty, and I don’t say that lightly. It is a term we quickly give to things like landscapes and endangered species, but women’s bodies, especially the beautiful ones are so commoditized and objectified in the media that it seems crass to mention it. But the truth is, Ursula was gorgeous, and a talented model, and very easy to draw. While personality and creativity were part of the package the sheer physical beauty was at least a third of the package (and dare I mention that for the men in the group, I’m guessing more than a third?)  Is it wrong to say so? Is it somehow insulting to mention sheer physical beauty? If I was a guy, and saying the same thing, would this post be even less acceptable? So much of who we are, and what we are capable of is influenced by things beyond our control, genetics and environment, how is complementing, say, artistic talent, any different from complimenting someone’s beautiful body. Questions, questions, questions, not to mention, is their anyway to discuss a woman’s body without being politically loaded?
Back to drawing: also had a discussion on the traditional ‘art school’ method of life drawing, which seems to be block in the shadows and the rest will follow. I can attest, from four sad years of this, that without a good grounding in proportion and anatomy, I was lost, all lost. Zipping forward into now, I suppose my style is an anathema to that time honoured tradition because I draw lines, lines, and more lines. Some of my lines are shadows.  Sometimes the weight of the line stands in for shading. If I get a seat that gives me some really good contrasty lighting, I may revisit the traditional approach, but I’d really miss playing with the line.
I’m not trying to knock the method, btw, but since it frustrates a lot of people, just say, first, you need a grasp of proportion and anatomy or the innate ability to ‘see’ the finished drawing on the blank page (if not, it comes with experience) and second, and super important, you need great lighting, which is rare in a group setting where all angles must be accommodated. So don’t beat yourself up, just draw.
I was going to post these for sale on Etsy, but my line is WAY too slow. $25 if they get there. Which is a lead in to; I’m planning on getting internet cable. Given that procrastination is very tempting when it comes to shelling out money, I may go offline for a bit after October 15th when my dial-up expires. So if I disappear for bit, don’t worry. It’s just me being cheap and lazy.


Cee Martinez said...

Gorgeous drawings. :) I adore life drawing.

Your questions on whether or not a man can compliment the model are interesting. I've wondered that myself. The last class I was in, a rather pretty woman was posing and we were all sketching and a woman mentioned how "shapely" her figure was, which led to all of us muttering back and forth about whether or not anyone could compliment her.

This talking went on as if she weren't in the room and listening to us, and then a fella said, "Well, if I want to compliment her I can!"

The model at this point was still holding position but looking at us as if we were all nuts.

"You guys!" I said, "We gotta remember she's a MIND not just a BODY!" <--this was said in all facetiousness, cause I'd only been half in the conversation at that point.

Anyway, it seemed to hit the model who lost her pose and died laughing and then everyone was made at me.



kaslkaos said...

Great story Cee, thanks so much. Also, kinda puts it in perspective. If I was a model, yes, I would find it creepy to have a man compliment my physical looks. On the other hand, we routinely will compliment the poses, usually at the end of the session. Talking around someone is always rude, of course, so good on you for calling them out on that.
It is an odd situation isn't it. There she is, an object to draw, but also colleague of the drawing session.

Jennifer Rose said...

life models must hear odd things all the time about their bodies, so i don't think it really matters the gender of the person speaking. as long as it is kept respectful, and doesn't get crass, I think its perfectly ok to say the model is beautiful, regardless of the models gender or the person speaking.

some people can take it the wrong way tho if you say another women is beautiful and you are a girl yourself. I can appreciate the beauty in the human form and will say it, but other people's mind admittedly goes to the gutter

Michelle (artscapes) said...

Your lines are beautiful...

kaslkaos said...

Thanks Jennifer, for thoughtful comments. I'll bet tone of voice and body language is important too.
Thanks Michelle, for compliments, blush, blush.
& Hey, in case you didn't catch my joyful tweet, I'm on cable now. Whoo hoo! Hopefully I can be more sociable in future, but today was a write-off, 2 1/2 hour install!

Jennifer Rose said...

whohoo! cable :D which means more art from you :D


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