Wednesday, September 17, 2014

the joy of figure Drawing

Figure drawing for me is a lot of fun. Sure it is difficult but it is so interesting to study the forms and movements of the human body. Besides it has so many benefits and not just for figure and portrait painters. If you are a landscape painter, it will help you see all the twists and turns of trees and if you like still-life- it will enhance your knowledge of relationships and forms.
 Artists have been drawing the figure for centuries. Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci all did tremendous studies of the body. It is thanks to those artists  that we have our knowledge of bone and muscles since they risked their lives to dissect the body.

  One of my favorites of the old masters to study is Pierre Paul Prud"hon, an artists of the 19th century who is mostly remembered for his fabulous life drawings. I love to study how he drew people especially when I have had some trouble drawing. I have quite a collection of copies of his drawings that I have gotten from magazines. Since the return of  classical education, articles have been written about him and his drawings several times. here is a lovely example of one of his figures:

Another of my favorites is my own teacher Ann Didusch Schuler who did wonderful life studies. In fact when I was in art school, man of us would vie with each other to be able to sit near her to see how she handled drawing the figure. Her favorite way was on toned paper with white chalk. She was especially fond of drawing with conte pastel pencils.

I have sessions in my studio on sunday afternoons- at least I did but many of my fellow artists became too busy so I had to look elsewhere to do some drawing. I found a good session at the Sawtooth Art center in Winston-Salem. For the past couple of months I have gone there to do figure drawing and it has been a 'relearning experience" mostly because they only do shorter poses. One minute, two and three minutes followed by five and ten minute poses. One is lucky to have a fifteen or a twenty minute pose during their 2 hours. Therefore I started to do small drawings with my favorite sanguine chalk. 

Here are a couple of my drawings: