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FIGURING OUT THE FIGURE
November 4 – December 11, 2010
Approximately four years ago I became eager I draw from the figure again on a regular basis. My eagerness was driven by my desire to teach figure drawing as effectively as possible. I searched far and wide for a drop-in session whose time did not conflict with my own teaching schedule, and finally found the open session at The Atelier, School of Classical Realism in Oakland, CA, which I have attended on and off ever since. It is organized differently than most non-instructional sessions in that there are no gesture poses, rather, one pose that is held the entire here hours, and repeated for two month stretches at a time. Although I have no taken advantage of the extended pose by working on the same drawing or painting week after week, my drawing approach has become slower and quieter as I sink into a three hour drawing, an then another drawing of the same pose two weeks later, perhaps from a different vantage point and so forth.
Instructing figure drawing classes has provided me the opportunity to analyze the dynamic sketches of Italian Masters, the pen and ink drawings by Rembrandt, the exquisite figure studies on hand-toned paper by Paul Cadmus and the early figure drawings an paintings by Picasso, Matisse and Eakins. It has helped me re-discover the meditative quality of the drawing process, as I remind students in foundation classes to look deeply at the subject natter and figure/ground relationship in order to understand what they see. One of the gifts of teaching is witnessing the breakthroughs students experience as they slowly gain skill, and the remarkable work that is produced in this process. Another more easily overlooked reward for me is the reminder of he joy that direct, observationally based drawing has to offer.
Santa Rosa Junior College is officially accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges