Wednesday, January 31, 2007
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!