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Saturday, October 4, 2008

All That Jazz


We had our second clothed figure drawing class session yesterday.

Being a class with a model, it's a hit or miss, at least for me. I personally find it tricky to draw or paint a model who doesn't make me respond with a desire to render them.

Last week we had a young pretty model (not a good start) who was wearing a black dress (not very inspiring) with long slits along the legs (OK, maybe there's hope) with some scarlet fabric showing through (getting better!) and a straw hat (Yay!!).

However - despite the wonderful possibilities her outfit had to offer, the teacher asked her to just sit in a chair. One single boring pose for the whole time. He also made her take off the hat, as it covers her face. The black dress made her look like a pile of dark, and the sitting pose was so uninspiring that it started a domino effect of people sneaking out. I managed to paint a bit with watercolors, but after two additional attempts I left. There was still more than an hour till the end of class.

I know, I know, some will say an artist has to adjust to whatever the circumstances are and make the most out of the model and the painting time. Well, not this artist. If no inspiration nor fun are involved, then what's the point except for getting frustrated?

But yesterday, ahhhh, yesterday we had Chuck. A male model whom - over the 6 years I've been doing art here - I came to know quite well. I did so many drawings of him in portrait class and life drawing class and quick sketching class.

He's a real pro, and - especially in the sketching classes - always brings something special. He once came with roller blades and delighted us with various skating poses, almost splitting his head open. Another time he was a cowboy, with a gun and all (NRA and Palin would've had tears of joy and pride). But, I've never actually painted him.


Yesterday, he came carrying musical instruments (as, among his other occupations, this guy is playing jazz).

He started with a standing pose, holding a flugelhorn, looking very convincing like someone who's just taking a short break from playin'.

I didn't feel like messing with charcoal that day, and so I went for watercolors - to the dismay of the teacher. He always preaches me to paint differently than I the way do, which sometimes annoys the hell out of me as I don't believe in following someone else's style of painting. I wanna paint like me, OK?

We only had three session of 15 minutes each for this pose, and when I was done, VallieM and MembieM looked at the painting and claimed they love the expression.

Me? I kinda liked what I ended up with, but to me, he seems to whine (quite justifiably) "what have I ever done to you that you gave me such tiny hands? Why oh why???". in my defense, let me say that almost everyone who tried to commemorate his hands came up with tiny squirrel-like hands like the ones I did. So there!.

The other was a sitting pose. "Oh, just sit in that chair" said the teacher.

I was just about to sigh and pack my stuff, expecting last week to déjà vu all over again, but wait - Chuck - being the professional model that he is - pulled it off beautifully, and went for a pose of someone in deep thought, holding his shiny blue saxophone in his lap (I haven't seen one before either. A blue saxophone, that is. Not a lap!), and looking very weary.

It was just the kind of scene I'd photograph if I saw it in a jazz club, so I cheerfully went for it. This time, I decided to actually draw him first, before going for the paintbrush. The teacher was overjoyed, almost in tears, when he saw me actually using a Pitt pen to render the figure with a quick line, claiming he appreciates what I am doing.

What can I say - it worked. No more deformed hand, no huge head on a tiny body, no reprimanding look from the painted model. And, since I was on a frenzy of listening to the teacher, I stopped in time before ruining the freshness of the quick brush strokes. (OK, I only ruined them a bit).

I came home very proud and showed my masterpieces to The JohnnyB.

"What do you think?" , I beamed with pride.

Being his usual honest self, he said: "I think you like these paintings much more than I do".

OK. At least when he says something good, I know he really means it.

But hey, the good news is that Chuck agreed to have his picture taken, so I went paparazzi on him. Now that I have reference photos and the on-location sketch, the sky is the limit. No?


6 comments:

RHCarpenter said...

Well, that girl could have been posed in any number of ways to make it more interesting and exciting to draw/paint her - I think the fault is the teacher, here - and I've been there, done that, and gotten too bored with a model just being allowed to lie down and sleep or sit and doze :( I like the energy in your paintings of Chuck!

Holly Van Hart said...

Nava, I like how you captured Chuck's expressions on both these sketches. The sky's the limit! Holly

Cath Sheard said...

Good on you for doing it your way. I agree, if it ain’t fun, why bother? I think you have a wonderfully colourful and loose style. I’ll be back to see more of your work.

paintinglady said...

Chuck sounds like a gem of a life model - so many I have seen over the years just can’t be bothered, but your guy is a treasure.

I would have loved to have done that saxaphone pose too - your painting looks great!

bonnieluria said...

You get so much expressed " in your own style " with such essence and not overdone.
I really feel for Chucks' facial expressions and the way he holds his instrument.
It's your brush and you can do what you want........

Nava said...

Rhonda, yeah, I wish teachers would give more thought to posing the model in an way that'll make the students want to draw them. One can always hope...

Holly, Thanks! he has very expressive face, so that was part of the fun.

Cath, Welcome - and hope you visit again.

Paintinglady, Yes, Chuck is one of the best. I hope we'll have him again.

>Bonnie, thank you!! I agree - if we don't get to do what we want with our art, then where do we get to do that?