Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Life Drawing Date

Kristin La Flamme here, cooing over my weekly artist date. 


A few years ago I came to the realization that the more into quilts and textile art I became, the less I was actually drawing. As a result, there were subjects that I was purposely avoiding because I knew my skills were rusty. I decided that I needed, no, wanted, to draw more. A lot more.


But what should I draw? Attending a regular life drawing class or session appealed to me because it takes me back to the basics of art school, it's scheduled, and I feel that if I can draw the human form I can draw anything.


It took a move to a new city to find a group that met at a convenient time and place, but the wait was worth it.


I arrive with no agenda. Life drawing is so different from my textile art that it doesn't feel like work, and I don't worry about anything fitting into a theme or concept. As one of the other members of the group says, we go there to explore. I try different drawing or painting implements. I focus on gesture, or maybe the face. The poses range from three minutes to more than 25 and still we rarely finish anything.


Maybe some of these drawings will form a cohesive work someday, but most likely not. As Julia Cameron said in the video Traci posted, we must woo our consciousness on these artist dates and fill our creative wells so that later we may fish from them. I look forward to the Thursday morning group and I miss it when I can't make a session. I'm excited each week to see what model we will be drawing. I leave the sessions energized and in a creative mood. That to me is a great date.



12 comments:

  1. I'm so happy to see someone else focusing on Live Figure Drawing online. Although I only get there once per month, my evenings at the Society of Illustrators sketch nights (here in New York City) are among my favorite drawing activities. And it is an amzing way to strengthen drawing "muscles." Would love to see more from you!!!!

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    1. Shirley, your sketch nights sound like a great artist date! What a super resource. You may see more of my figure drawings in my Flickr set here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/94014149@N00/sets/72157631019467364/ As in most life drawing, the models are nude, so I hesitate posting too much on a blog like this one where someone might not be expecting it.

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  2. Timely post, Kristin. I sort of dropped out of the Sketchbook challenge, except to lurk because I discovered that after not really using my drawing skills I acquired in High School, 30 years of cartooning for quilt art was leaving me rusty at drawing which sent me into a funk...I USED to be able to draw, now I looked at my attempts at as being juvenile...lack of use meant loss which created extreme frustration on my part.
    I have been thinking a lot the last few days....can one become better at drawing when so much time has passed between learning to draw and now? Should I go back and take drawing classes again, or can one, through extreme diligence and effort recapture that what was lost?

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    1. I think drawing is like riding a bike. It's also a lot like going to the gym -- the longer you stay away, the more sore you will be when you return. BUT it doesn't take long before your muscles are back in shape and you can make it all the way through step class (or whatever your favorite form of physical torture is). Warm up with drawing your breakfast every morning, or finding drawing prompts somewhere online. Pick up a book like Drawing on the Right Side of your Brain (or is it Left?) and do some exercises. Then graduate to a class at a local art center or community college or find a life drawing group like mine. Maybe just make a date with a friend to draw together on a regular basis. Set up a still life on the coffee table and share tea and drawing with a pal. The more you draw the more you will train yourself to look, and the more you will ask questions. What if I did this? Or what if I tried that? Try answering those questions and see what happens. Go for it! Drawing never hurt anyone. ;-)

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    2. Oh, and one more thing -- no one has to see your drawings but you. Don't worry if your early attempts don't meet your standards. Keep going! Throw away the yucky ones if you need to (or erase or paint over them a week later, they'll make lovely background textures), but keep moving forward. You can't get six pack abs going to the gym once, but six months of regular workouts will do wonders. :-)

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    3. You have inspired me to get back to drawing.
      I too, have spent the last 30 yrs. in fibre and have neglected my drawing skills where it applies to life drawing. I found an open, life-drawing class at a local art centre and have been playing with the idea of jumping in ... now I could have an artist date every Sun. morning !

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    4. lol...I think this is where I step in again and say "I want an oompaloompa, and I want it now!" But that would be just that....juvenile. ;)


      So...I'm off to do my sketching crunches.

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  3. I loved this post Kristin!I like to make whimsical marks but also urban sketching appeals to me as well. I need to involve myself in a life drawing class so I can sketch the people in the urban scenes much quicker. Maybe I will let today be the day that I look for a local group...

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    1. Carol and Threadpainter -- I hope that you DO look into local drawing groups. I'm enjoying my dates very much and hope that others might also.

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  4. I think many of us in textiles often don't draw because we don't have a drawing background and started off using patterns, so we didn't need to develop that skill. Sometimes it takes extending into a different field such as mixed media before starting to draw for ourselves.

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    1. You are right Christine, and mixed media -- particularly collage and image transfer -- is a great way to work with imagery, both as a path and as an end in itself. I don't expect everyone to jump feet first into the drawing pool. But, drawing is a wonderful skill and I encourage anyone who wants to to dive right in. :-)

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  5. just lovely. I wish I could get myself to figure drawing classes. I took it for 3 semesters in college (when I was ~30) and loved it and was really able to see my drawings improve. thanks for the beautiful post.

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