*A blog post about TWO drawing classes I went to this week!
Last night I attended the Figure Drawing course that I posted about on Tuesday. At the beginning of last night’s class, we reviewed and discussed the homework and then warmed up with about 20 minutes of gestural drawings from the live model.
For the meat of the course, our wonderful instructor, Jamie Platt, taught us about proportion. She showed us how to use sighting sticks, which an artist uses to measure a specific part of the body, (ex: the head), in relation to other parts in order to draw accurate proportions. The key is to hold the stick at arm's length toward the model while closing one eye, then mark the length of the head on the stick with the tip of your thumb. Once you make that mark, you may line up the sighting stick to other parts of the body to gauge their size in relation to the head’s measurement. So, for example, the width of the head could be about ¾ of the length of the head, or the length from the bottom of the chin to the nipples could be equal to the length of the head. With just a bit of practice, it’s not as difficult as it sounds! Here is a photo of Jamie demonstrating the sighting stick technique:
In addition to the sighting sticks, we used rulers to mark an 8-inch vertical line and 4-inch horizontal line on our drawing pads, as shown in the background of the picture below:
Then we spent the majority of the class using the sighting stick and graphite pencils to translate the model’s proportions across the lines on the page. The model was standing in a simple standing position so that we could draw straightforward proportions.
Here are some of the students in action!
Not only did we have the opportunity to learn how to use a new tool, but we discovered a useful way to draw proportion, which is essential to mastering the human figure. I’m looking forward to the next class! :)
I’m a lucky girl because I double dipped in drawing classes this week. Now let’s rewind 2 days back to the first of a 4-week afternoon course, Drawing in Museums, at the American Art Museum. The class is designed for beginner to intermediate students who have taken a previous drawing class or has equivalent drawing experience. A few students have taken this exact class before, which shows how awesome it is! Here we are getting to know each other at the start of class:
The instructor is Paul Glenshaw, an incredible STEAM educator, author, and filmmaker. He studied painting at Washington University in St. Louis, and he has been drawing for over 30 years. His talent showed as he taught. He shared with us his drawings from small sketchbooks that he has brought with him to museums, and he offered great insight throughout the class.
The course itself explores the art of copying, which is necessary to render technical skills as an artist. This style of study focuses on the ways that an artist created a masterpiece, or the technical and material processes that the artist employed to create a specific aesthetic experience. This requires more intellectual thought and creative skill than a simple process of “look and repeat.”
For the first class, we drew from paintings. Paul demonstrated the initial steps of drawing in museums. “First thing,” he said, “is to just walk around, and when a piece tells you to stop, you stop. Don’t choose one because you think it will be easy.”
Here he is showing us how to render the correct proportions and overall composition of a painting in our sketchbooks.
Paul’s explanations were clear and concise – just the perfect combination for us eager students! We then had the next 2 hours to choose a painting to copy. Paul walked around to check in on us and give us knowledgeable tips.
I was in heaven. I chose a John Singer Sargent painting to copy, Spanish Dancer, which is a preparatory oil study for the main figure in his final piece, El Jaleo, pictured below:
Below is a picture of my sketch with Singer's piece behind it.
I chose this piece because not only did it make me really “stop” when I looked at it, but I’m a huge fan of Sargent. For a final project at RISD last year, I did a master copy of his oil painting, “The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit,” pictured below.
Close-ups of this piece are on my website.
We ended the class with a sneak peek of the sculpture gallery we will draw in next week. I can’t wait. Stay tuned for more posts about this class!
As you can see, it was a fun-filled week of drawing classes. The differences between the class themes, structures, professors, and locations demonstrate that we offer a variety of drawing classes. All are so awesome that they’re filling up fast, and it’s difficult to choose just one!