I attended an open drawing session at a local art school after Labor Day Weekend. It has been years—since 2007 when I graduated, specifically—since I really devoted any time to academic study. I was very out of practice, to say the least. I can’t even say the three hours I had available to me to draw from a live, nude model, was academic in the strictest sense. I really was just trying to get a likeness with correct proportions. I realized the following mistakes that I made:
- I didn’t bring the right materials
- I failed to plan out the figure, hence, I “ran out of paper”
- I focused on detail too early, resulting in an incomplete piece
My goal was not to take away specific ideas for other projects, much less create a saleable piece. I just knew I needed to stretch out and work muscles that have been at risk for atrophy. You’ll notice from the drawing that the medium I used worked against me, or I worked against it. Hard conte pencils were not the right choice to cover large paper in a relatively short amount of time, when factoring in a few quick gesture sketches on newsprint to warm up. With all the breaks and those initial studies, I had about an hour and a half on the drawing. I ended up with a somewhat sloppy, if not stylized, work. There are also visible corrections, which is not a bad thing for a study. Notice that I corrected the length of the kneecap to the ankle, but didn’t erase the erroneous first positioning. I really wanted to capture the man’s feet; they had a very prominent structure. You’ll see I did a quick study to the left of the drawing of his right foot, just to compensate for my poor planning. The model had a very interesting face, so I didn’t work hard enough to resist my compulsion to go in with the detail.
I left the studio in a slight state of unrest, but I don’t know if I was justified in feeling that way. I display this work not with pride, but with a truthful humility. There was more for me to take away from this session, and even more for me to bring to the next one.