Friday, August 16, 2013

Christians in the Visual Arts and the drawing class

The first event at the CIVA conference that I participated in was an all-day figure drawing class led by  a famous figurative artist Edward Knippers.
The greatest benefit for an introverted artist like myself who almost never leaves the studio was that I met some fantastic people,  famous in their work and with broad exposure world-wide and...they talked to me! These are articulate people who can get up in front of a huge audience and speak of the things that matter most to me-our Christian faith. They write and can express clearly what I struggle to say in my own work. I feel much less alone now as I continue to do what it is I vision in my work.
So, here I am at the figure drawing class with this famous man who I did not realize was so famous and accomplished until later that evening when I went home and looked him up. His oil paintings of Biblical figures and subjects are so revealing, so truthful, and beautiful.
Well, I am little cocky about my skills as a figure drawing artist, as I do go to a regular Saturday group of life drawing and keep up the practice.

(I am in the back of the room in this photo, see the white hair and the black t-shirt which turned out to be a good choice since I was soon covered with charcoal dust)
I was taken aback when the class got off to an uncomfortable start, (for me).

 Mr. Knippers specified that we would be drawing on giant sheets of newsprint and using big chunks of the softest charcoal. I usually rely on a contour line drawing and here we were told to go with the broadest sort of silhouette of the figure. Next, our instructions were to find the lightest part of the figure and go into and erase toward the modeling. This approach took me out of my usual practice and soon I was head-to-toe black with charcoal dust. Now I remember why I have not used charcoal  since back in the old Art Center days.
Later in the day, we switched from a female model to a male and were instructed to use charcoal vine as a method of cross hatching, again, modeling the darkest tones first.
Taking me out of my old comfort zone was such a good for me sort of time, I learned and worked, came home exhausted, (drawing is such hard work) and was going to throw these black messy stacks away but took a record for my blog. And then, I threw them all out and took a shower. Whew.