Monday, February 11, 2008

Covered in Titanium White

...At least, with all the snow we've been getting, it's a rather monochromatic palette outside. A snowblower would have been a good investment this year. Instead, I have an aching back and two broken shovels to show for winter's crystalline precipitation.

Progress on "Gnomon" is good. I knocked in the sky this Saturday, which I'm happy about, as studio time began late because I took the family to DeLorme. I'm a bit of a geek about maps, and the kids have a bit of a penchant for it, too. Plus Eartha, the 42-foot working globe is cool for just about any kid. Anyway, I need to spend more time in the studio other than Saturdays, if I'm to get anything done in a timely fashion. This Thursday may be a good time, as drawing room is booked for the next 2 Thursday nights. *edit* Okay, since I haven't actually posted this yet (it's now Friday the 15th) I can say that I did work at Berehaven this Thursday. In fact, I was there ALL DAY! It snowed yet again (apropos!). This time it was so bad during morning commuting hours, that I took the day off work. An excellent decision all around. I painted quite a bit, and ran into some pictorial problems in the water. I pushed one kind of resolution, but I'll have to go back and see if it worked. There are other solutions, so I'm not too worried.

So I was talking about life drawing before... I had intended to post something regarding drawing room specifically. It has really been a great find for me in a number of ways. The most obvious thing is the practical exercise of drawing the figure from life. It is truly the most demanding of artistic disciplines for the representational artist. To wit: if you make a mistake, even the non-artist will see it. It's not like a landscape where you can move a rock or opt to not paint a tree or some such. If you don't draw the model's nose, it will be missed. There have been not a few Thursday evenings when I've been quite mentally whipped from dealing with the artistic compromises I must make on the job. Honestly, all I want to do at those times is have a drink and watch a movie; a mental vacation, if you will. But, instead I go to life drawing and tighten my focus on my drawing: really observing and delineating shapes; moving from general to specific; and being as objective as possible. It's exhausting, but it's more like exercise in that there's a kind of creative endorphin rush, and I end up feeling 100% better about the state of things when it's over. Which is why I need it every week. I was able to sublimate this week with an impromptu visit to the studio, so I'm good for now. And tomorrow, I go back, which is excellent.

I've been quite stretched out over the past few weeks. Tennis on the weekends - especially mixed doubles - is too much. It's money and time, and not nearly enough exercise to show for it. I was actually undefeated this winter, but I can't say that it means anything to me. I obliged some friends and played on their team and I did my job. The team didn't make Districts, so I think we're done. And just when I thought things were going to free up, the Men's Leagues are starting in March. I have a certain obligation, so I guess if I get the call (and I will), I'll have to play. I don't know how to fit all this in so it doesn't create conflicts. Bleah.

Oh, I nearly forgot - I've met some great people at drawing room, especially Alex Rheault, the artist who is the lifeblood of the thing. She is awesome and full of great creative energy. I am very thankful for all her efforts. Also, I was re-acquainted with a young artist who is also a lovely singer, and sang for my good friend Phil when he was Choir/Music director at the Cathedral. She's diligently exercising her hands along with the rest of us on Thursday evenings. The models that Alex hires are very good, and there is one with whom I'd love to work in the future. She reminds me of Nelson Shanks' model, Sophia, with her very fair skin tones, full features and dark red hair. She's a painter as well, so that's a big plus. Another model was someone with whom I'd worked quite a bit at the Institute. She's very experienced, which makes it so much easier to draw, as you don't have to worry about the model's obvious lack of comfort, or the pose "sinking," and what have you. They're all very good, overall, and the variety of body types and level of quality poses is high - and again, I have Alex to thank for that!

This post meandered a bit, so I'm going to move on. I'll see if I can't post some life drawings on here. They're piling up - which isn't a bad thing.

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