Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Life Drawing

I had been thinking about taking a life drawing class one day at the beginning of the year, but thought I was far from ready for that. In spring, I went to a portrait drawing classes again, which I had taken two years ago. I really enjoyed exploring the human face and drawing real people rather than working from photographs. Drawing the hole figure was the logical next step further. I wasn't sure if I was ready for the class yet, and I was thinking about it and arguing with myself all summer. But then, one's never really ready and fully prepared, and just a few days before class started at the end of September, I went for it. And I'm so glad I did. Every Saturday morning we explore a new technique or concept - mass, contour, line, tonal values, chiaroscuro etc. I love the structure of the class, starting with a bit of theory first, followed by putting it into practice, and building up on the past lessons. And as we are a small group of only seven, our teacher has enough time for helping each of us in turn with practical advise and critique. While the models in the portrait class had been volunteers, who did not always sit completely still, the models here are paid professionals, who are able to hold a pose without moving. Drawing them is a very different experience, not easy, but so rewarding. Most of the time, anyway. There's always the one or other drawing that just doesn't work, and is just frustrating, of course. We've had a different model for every class so far, mostly young women - only one man so far. Below are some of the drawings I did in class so far (I'm sorry about the bad quality of the photographs, but the days are getting shorter and greyer). I still got lots to learn...

Last Saturday, we went to the Archaeological Museum at the University, to draw in their cast collection. After having spent a good hour listening to our teacher explaining about different epochs and development of representing the human body in carved stone, we all wandered off to find a cast to draw. I liked the expression of this cast of a Roman copy of a Hellenic original, representing a man sharpening a sickle. I decided to concentrate just on on that, drawing only the head, instead of the whole figure (which was rather complicated, I save that for another day). There were some in my class who weren't happy about drawing dead models instead of life ones, but I must say I quite enjoyed it. It was nice not having to worry about time and instead being able to take as long as you need without having to fear your model changing the pose. I think it's a good exercise to draw such casts from time to time, to really study the features, proportions, expressions, poses etc., to get a feel for the human face and figure, and I'm sure it will be very useful for drawing from life.

I have a long way to go still, but I'm so glad I'm taking this course now. And I want to go back to the Archaeological museum too, and there are weekly life drawing sessions (not classes) here in Zürich too, which I yet have to check out. After all, it's practise, practise, practise that makes you improve your skills.

1 comment:

  1. These are terrific! Really fabulous and it would be hard for anyone to tell you are a beginner at figures. And what a great idea to draw from casts. I must do that! :0)