Thursday, February 11, 2010
Drawing Workshop March 20 - 21
I will be teaching a two day figure drawing workshop next month right here in Fair Oaks. March 20 - 21 (Sat - Sun).
I can't say enough about the importance of drawing. But don't take my word for it, if you'd rather believe the words of a more qualified artists like... oh... say, Michelangelo, or Tiepolo, or Tintoretto.. Velasquez, Sargent, Sorolla, Degas...
Figure drawing is easy to get into; all you need is a piece of paper and a pencil. But like anything else worthy of greatness, it's incredibly difficult to master, especially if you're just going through the motions blindly and mindlessly. Drawing takes active seeing, analyzing, and interpreting, all of which takes focus and knowledge; knowledge of anatomy, techniques in expressing gesture, rhythm, flow, and volume.
The way I like to draw the figure is to focus first on the gesture, second on form, and third on line quality. Notice I didn't mention proportions, which may be at the top of the list for some artists. I agree that getting the proportions right is important. Precision is crucial in certain kinds of drawing, like portraiture, for example. If I were drawing or painting a portrait, I'd spend a lot of time in the beginning stages to ensure accuracy.
But for me personally, though, I think it is far more important - and fascinating, to draw the figure with the intent to communicate what it is doing, and not necessarily what it looks like on the surface. So I prefer to stress the gesture above everything else. That means shorter poses usually, no more than 20 minutes. And it means economy of line; how best to get maximum information in a short period of time. The way I think about economy of line in drawing is exactly the same as the way I try to get economy in my brushwork on a painting.
But what about proportions!? With these shorter gesture drawings, it's essential to see and take in the entire figure. In order to get the gesture right, you have to make every part fit into the whole. Context, once again. With practice we learn to see each line as it relates to the whole, rather than to another part.
What I'm trying to say, in my long winded way, is that proportions will come with practice, if you get into the habit of seeing the whole figure, and not just comparing one part to another. So I don't fuss over my students' drawings regarding proportions. I actually discourage measuring. (Unless we're talking about portraiture) I want my students to learn to draw what the figure is doing, and not get caught up in trying to render a visual likeness. If a student wants to learn how to get a realistic rendition of a subject, I can certainly help but his money would be better spent studying with masters of such discipline.
If you do find my approach interesting and would like to learn more – and you want to come to my March workshop, you can still sign up by contacting The School of Light and Color directly.
Posted by Terry at 8:16 AM