Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Figurative Workshop


Mother Nature is keeping me away from the weekly figure drawing class. On each of the last three Monday nights there has been some sort of big dramatic weather event and so I have not been able to make it to the class. I miss it greatly, especially now that something, besides myself, is keeping me away.

About a year ago I took a weekly class for a month with an instructor whose art I really admired. Unfortunately, it was a really bad experience and it pretty much messed me up concerning figurative work for the better part of the year. I am the first to admit that I am not a very good student at this point, but he seemed to dislike me personally. Everything I did was wrong, from how I laid out the initial marks to how I held my charcoal to my choice of paper. I am actually pretty confident about my drawing abilities, despite being a bit rusty, but he didn't seem interested in letting me "warm up" and wanted me to change everything before I had the chance to get into my groove. While there certainly is value in changing things up (which I am capable of doing on my own, thank you), I just wanted a chance to get some of my skills back. At the last class I attended, he handed me a book and said that it might help me. It was literally a "how to draw the figure" 101 book and it was all I could do to not throw it at his face. I still hear his words when I draw and it does not help me at all.

But now I am considering taking a week long figure drawing workshop this summer in Woodstock (my very favorite place) again, if my schedule permits. I took one a few summers ago and after day two, the instructor and I came to an unspoken understanding. He didn't try to change everything about how I worked and realized that letting me know when a certain aspect of the drawing wasn't working rather than quibbling with me about process was what I needed. And I was comfortable about asking him for advice as I certainly respected his skills. While he is a more traditional figurative artist, he seemed to appreciate my style and I enjoyed his workshop. It was also heaven to draw from the figure everyday for a week. That is the most important thing for me, but the instructor does make a difference.

I think I am ready now though to go back to Jon's summer workshop. I probably would have taken it last summer but besides still being a bit freaked out about figure drawing, I was also in the midst of finishing up work for the Cape Cod show the week that it was scheduled for. But this summer I am going to try and plan everything around that week. This year, I am totally ready to spend a week all by myself, in Woodstock NY, drawing the figure.

Now that's heaven!

9 comments:

meno said...

I love the picture at the top. If i could draw like that i would tell that teacher to go to hell.

I hope you will be able to take the week long class.

Chris Rywalt said...

I think both drawings are pretty fantastic. Where can we sign up for this course? Maybe I'll commute. That's not quite as much a joke as it might be; I commuted just as far for my last day job.

Tracy said...

Thanks Meno. I wish I had had the nerve. Though if I had that would have guaranteed my running into him again at some point:) The art world can be very small.

Chris, Sorry, I should have put the link up-Woodstock School of Art.

Chris Rywalt said...

Which class are you talking about?

I know, you don't want to say because you want to take it ALONE.

Tracy said...

Ha! No, I would love it if you took the class at the same time Chris! In fact we could put together a blogger convention to be held the same week. I meant to say which workshop it was when I put the link up, but had to rush out to pick up my daughter.

Anyway, the one I am planning to take is Short and Long Pose Drawing with Jon deMartin. I considered the painting and drawing class with Michael Peery, but then I'd have to put him through the whole learning curve about how to be my instructor and I don't feel up to that quite yet. I liked Jon and his figurative work is excellent. Google him-you'll find some of his images.

Chris Rywalt said...

Whoa, four hundred bucks! I'll have to see what I can scrape together. And make sure we're not going to be in Florida that week.

Tracy said...

Chris, I think there is a also a model fee on top of that, it's about $60-75 I think.

Bob said...

tracy, these are very lovely drawings. I am interested who the instructor was and realize that it would be a no no to say. Instructors who act like this are usually people who have both a fanatical and silly romantic view on being an artist. They make my blood boil.

Tracy said...

Hi Bob, I was tempted to say who it was, however chances are good that I could run into him again. Plus I am sure he has his own side of the story and I guess I have to say that his perception might be right too. So it would be wrong to put his name up. He isn't teaching in Woodstock anymore though, I heard he moved and is teaching elsewhere.

I also heard his comments to other students and even though I felt that he did pick on me a bit, he treated the others in the class in a similar manner.

Thanks for the compliment about the drawings.