One of my blog followers admitted that he just skims through most of my blogs because he doesn’t care much for landscapes. Nudes, on the other hand, are more interesting. Me too. And I do have a backlog of photos taken of my drawings from the Saturday Life Group and its offshoot, the smaller Tuesday group. I have not taken any photos of the ones from the Thursday night drawing class yet. (You may remember that we started out with still lifes in this “Drawing with Color” class, but several weeks ago, switched to drawing a nude model.)
Not many of the Thursday nudes are worthy, but I thought I finally had a good one at the end of last Thursday’s class, and guess what! I lost it! I remember stuffing it in my portfolio, thinking this kind of treatment can’t be good for it. But when I looked in the portfolio for it Friday, it was gone. I am baffled. Fortunately, I’ve got enough other material to put together a blog entry.
I need a theme. Can’t think of one. Let’s go with gender: this week male nudes; next week, female, with fingers crossed and a prayer to St. Anthony that the missing female from last week will miraculously show up in the meantime. Not that I believe in miracles.
Above, the “cover” shot, is one of my Tuesday group products–basically a portrait of our organizer/model, who took this one home with him. It was a pretty decent likeness, although he doesn’t really look that old. The photo is grainy because he had to send it to me by email. (I don’t take a camera to life drawing sessions.) I like it not just for the likeness, which pleased me enormously, but also for the hands. I am always trying to improve my hands, so to speak. See my blog in October on A Show of Hands.
This one is from February, a straight-at-you pose that is a challenge to make interesting. I prefer more foreshortening. Maybe that’s my cop-out. I’ll explain: accuracy in drawing a nude is so very, very challenging that translating the pose into Art becomes almost an afterthought. That’s true with or without foreshortening. But with extreme or unusual foreshortening, I may be hoping for a substitute for artistry. Like this one:
I can tell by its roughness that this was a short pose–ten or twenty minutes. I only had time to get in what I thought was most important. You can see I assigned no importance to the far arm and hand, but I liked the toes a lot. (That’s just not normal!)
This one is from last May and is an example of foreshortening the body out of the picture altogether. I was trying out some new pencils, I think. The foreshortening of the right upper arm doesn’t read as foreshortened, and I don’t know why.
As you might be able to see, this one goes back to October 2009. Ordinarily I don’t like the use of the staff, but this time it improves the composition by creating a verticality to offset the horizontality. I have this one taped to my closet door, a place of honor.
A little funky, don’t you think? Maybe I have departed from accuracy here in order to express some creativity? Obviously, I chose to use my time differently–instead of depicting the muscles more expertly, I diverted to putting in some color and background tones. What was up with that? I can only speculate. It is a fact that great nude art does not necessarily include elaborate muscle modeling. Not that I’m saying this is great art. Maybe a start, though. The hand is particularly good.
Such a simple pose–how to make it interesting? I concentrated on the elbow. That’s maybe my best elbow yet. See how simply it is expressed. Almost Sargent-like.
Last one: Another pole made riveting by the shadow it casts. Cast shadows can be the best part of a nude drawing–shadows cast on the body or by the body. This drawing is also another example of leaving the body relatively undefined while concentrating of the development of the accessories. Artist in charge.
I think I have learned a lot about myself in the course of writing this entry. Thank you for reading it, which gives me the incentive to do this kind of retro-intro-spection.