Monday, July 7, 2008


Had the second session of the figure drawing class on Thursday. This time, a male model. An Asian man, who held the same pose throughout the whole 3 hours (yes, of course with 5-minute breaks!). The teacher intended that we have the opportunity to draw him from different angles, and have a sculptural comprehension of the figure.

The guy sat in the chair, very upright and calm, and took an emperor-like pose, looking very dignified and royal (save the missing teeth in his mouth). He had a great face, wonderful arms and expressive hands, his poise was so utterly perfect! everything I could wish for - - -

- - - and it made me feel so intimidated, so inadequate to capture him. The words of Alex Powers echoed in my head, yet again: "When a subject for a painting is extremely exciting... it inhibits changes and consequently curbs creativity".

Sure is.

In such a situation, one should make it easy on oneself, get acquainted with the new subject via drawing, keep it simple. Right?

Well, not when the one is yours truly..

Rather than going for charcoal, I decided on watercolor as my first attempt, introducing color to the challenge. This time, I did use my better paints, but did not get rid of the low-grade paper (I know, I know, Sandy... but hey - one step at a time).

I was loose, and daring, and colorful, and expressive - I was having a good time!

Then came the teacher.

"Too much line", he said.

"Too much information", he said.

"Less is more", he said.

"Too much going on", he said.

"It reminds me what my pappy used to say to me: 'Don't put on your plate more than you can eat'", he reminisced.

Ahhh, the hell with it!

I put the watercolor aside, abandoned my table and went to sit on the floor below the model, this time reverting to the charcoal, which gave me fame last week.

But - I was already pissed. I keep telling myself that I should not draw/paint in order to get a "wow" from the teacher, as teachers tend to wow about results that match what they like (by now I know that critique is never objective, nor is it detached from personal taste). And yet, negative feedback still gets to me, carrying a short-term impact.

I started to draw aiming at putting less details in, trying to leave a lot for the viewers to complete in their minds.

I came up with quite a decent drawing, that got a lot of appreciative looks from a fellow-drawer who was sitting next to me. Cool.

Then I started to ruin it. Don't ask me why. I was annoyed, hence I got into this vicious circle of making myself more irritated. I am good at that.

Then it was time for the last 20 minutes.

10 minutes, actually, as the end was near. (of class, that is).

I rushed to the restroom, restored the pinkness of my hands (I believe I broke a whole new record of being covered with charcoal!), and reached for the watercolor crayons and a new piece of paper. All these preparations have cost me 5 more precious minutes

"I'm just gonna have fun now!", I exclaimed to my angry self.

I chose to concentrate on the hands this time, did a quick study in 5 minutes. Wrong proportions, totally unfinished, but I kinda like it.

The good news is that the model allowed photography. ("only for reference, not for publishing", he warned me. Well, Duh!). I cannot grasp how come I was the only one who took his photos!

So, some day I might actually make a successful piece with the photos and based on these studies.

He really does have a great face!


Anonymous said...

Looked good to me! Made me sorry to have missed this one!


JohnnyB said...

I like the quick sketch the best... hmmm, I frequently like your quick sketches the best. Colorful, fun, frequently lost edges and implied shapes.