Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Full Day of Figure Drawing.

Wow, I'm exhausted. As some of you may be aware, I've been haunting the figure drawing sessions around Pittsburgh for about eight months. Today I visited two separate sessions. I'm working on a project called "The Book of Life". Like this blog, it's work that demands an almost obsessive amount of focus and discipline. "The Book" requires me to complete over 750 drawings. They are drawn with Onyx uniball fine-point pens and decidedly non-archival paper (if you don't already know what I'm drawing on, I'll leave it to you to guess).

Before I started "The Book", I never drew the human figure from life. It's a pretty incredible experience- if you haven't already tried it, I recommend it heartily. I've learned a lot about light and the infinite varieties of the human body. Growing up in a body-obsessed society, and surrounded by images of the "ideal" figure, it's easy to lose sight of the reality of material existence. I've yet to see a model who looks like 95% of the people I see in the popular media. But I have seen enough to realize how many illusions I used to carry around with me. Old men and women, the young and the middle-aged... they all do the figure drawing circuit.

At the rate it's taking me, I expect to be finished in a year or two. Luckily I have several places where I can go to get this done. My staple is at Panza Frame and Gallery in Millvale). We draw there every Thursdy from 7-9PM, and the cost is $7 per session. It's run very professionally, but there is an informal quality among the participants that is very enjoyable. Once a month, there is a session at the Brew House in the SouthSide called Barely Brunch. This is usually on Sundays, from 1-5PM. The cost is a bit more at $15, but you get to draw two models (and they provide food).

I've also just learned about an open session at the art building on the campus of CMU. Earlier today I threaded my way through the byzantine pathways of the campus and finally found the correct room (#313). This is a formal and quiet session that is run from 6-9PM, every Sunday. They have individual, adjustable drawing tables... and the best thing about it is... IT'S FREE. If seeing naked people isn't your thing, you can always check out Drink 'N Draw at the Brillo Box in Lawrenceville/Bloomfield. They dress their models in costumes, and construct elaborate themed backdrops. I've seen drag queens, lingerie models, and a biker. You need only come to be surprised. It's every other Tuesday, from 6-9PM ($10 fee, $1 off drafts). It's a fun group of people. Unfortunately, I can's use costumed models for my "Book of Life". But that doesn't stop me from going every time.

One complaint I would make about the variety of sessions in this town is that they generally all rely on the same small pool of models. This no doubt is due to the nature of the work. There aren't many folks who will pull their clothes off in a room full of complete strangers for $35-50 per session. I certainly wouldn't do it. But this means that I end up with many drawings of a small, select group of people. I'd like to get more variety into my "Book of Life". Do you want to be saved (while making a bit of extra cash?) Let me know, and I'll point you in the right direction.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go Merge

7:49 PM  

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