24 June 2011

On Figure Drawing

June 2011
Being a modest person for the majority of my life (I went through a stripping phase when I was little), nudity makes me kind of nervous. Sometimes when people strip down in movies, I close my eyes. It's not that I'm uncomfortable with the human body, it's just that I think we should keep them to ourselves most of the time.

So, this past spring semester in my basic drawing course, I noticed that we would be doing figure drawing in three of our class periods. "Uhh, ok," I thought to myself and then immediately forgot. One day, I walked into the drawing classroom like no biggie and there was an old man wandering around. I thought that was weird, because I'd never heard of a college teacher getting a substitute for class. They usually cancel class if they can't make it. Then it dawned on me. Figure drawing. OLD MAN FIGURE DRAWING. I know. It would be my luck that the first nude person I see in person is an 80-something-year-old. The girl who sat next to me was in the same situation, so it was good to be in the same boat with someone. Old man Dave had some pretty interesting poses for us that semester, but sometimes I think he outdid himself, because his legs would start shaking. He retired at the end of the semester, thank goodness.

We also have a female model, Sam, who is a fun person. After her modeling for a few times, I started to recognize her in the hallways. Turns out, she was a student at my school. It's weird to see someone walking down the hallway, just after you have obsessed over the shadows on their bum for multiple hours while drawing them. She's one of our models this summer in my figure drawing class, so I've gotten to know her a little more. She has a BFA in Fibers and works in a quilt shop- cool! The other day we were getting her set up for a three day long drawing, so we had to put tape where her feet were and take a few well-protected reference photos. While we were doing this, one of my classmates said, "Um, Mrs. Tuff, I think we need to close the blinds." The whole class shuffles over to the wall with all of the windows, and across the street at the new residence hall construction site, there is a line of workers leaned over one of railings looking into our classroom! While it was a funny art school moment, we closed the blinds.

Our other model this summer, Shawn, is the new male model for the art department. He is pretty funny. In between each drawing we do in class, our teacher lets him take a little five minute break, during which he walks around the classroom and takes a look at our drawings. He's always complimentary, and doesn't get offended when I accidentally give him a belly. Bless him. The other day when we were doing hand and feet studies, the whole class sat around the model stand to draw, so that we could see all of the details in his hands. I think he felt more comfortable, because he was clothed, but he had all sorts of stories for us! Models usually don't talk at all while posing. Turns out, he owns some magic shops and works with Criss Angel. Who are these people?! In August, Criss Angel is going to light Shawn and some other people on fire in some parking lot for a stunt. We'll see if he gets to model for us in the fall...

Drawing nudes isn't as terrible as I thought it would be. It's only awkward if you make it awkward!

1 comment:

  1. I loved my figure drawing classes. I actually concentrated in figure studies, but it was always weird when they talked after I had been studying them for hours, as they sat quietly.