Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Life Drawing Group

Tuesday night is drawing co-op. Ten or so middle-aged artists hire a model each week and take turns hosting, with wine and snacks. It’s sort of like a book club, only with nudes instead of literature.

My degree, such as it is, is in art, and I’ve been part of similar drawing groups before. My drawing is pretty good, although my hand isn’t super-steady. I’ve always had a kinesthetic sense of which direction my line is going --not just right and left, and up and down, but in and out. I like a sense of space and volume. Besides having a good sense of space, in the last couple of years I’ve gotten pretty good at proportion.

Making pictures is fun, but it’s always in the back of my mind that my art is subordinate to something else, describing a better way we could live. For a while I was drawing from a model three times a week, all day on Wednesdays, and wishing I could find two more sessions. I was working mostly in charcoal, trying to develop a style similar to Henry Yan’s. I was also interested in a Russian-New Mexico contemporary of Hopper’s and O’Keefe’s, Nicolai Fechin. I kept doing the same things, not making progress, and forgetting that I was learning this skill to communicate. Stony, a friend from another co-op was pretty skeptical of art’s being able to influence history, but that’s another discussion.

Tuesday is my only group now. I enjoy my friends’ company -- they came to my birthday party -- and a weekly workout helps me remember how to draw. It ain’t exactly like riding a bike.

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