Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Drawing From Observation - Lesson 1

I signed up for a six week drawing class being held at a local art store called Articulations (they have lots of great classes lined up for the next few months, several of which start this week).  The first class was last night.  The teacher's name is Beth Conklin (who, as my friend Kate McKinnon said about someone else in a recent blog post, "has an ailment unfortunately common in the arts: a truly anemic web presence").  Beth is a lovely young woman, very kind and gentle, just the sort of person you want to be teaching your first drawing class - totally unassuming and always encouraging.  I think she was just as nervous to be teaching as we were to be learning but no doubt that was just first night jitters for all of us.

There are only 3 students, myself, my friend Marilyn (who hadn't told me she had signed up, giving me a lovely surprise when I arrived for class last night) and another young woman who wants to expand her portfolio prior to applying to art school.  What a treat to be such a small group!  Heather, one of the oh so very nice owners of the store, was also on hand to help us pick out the appropriate supplies.

Our first few drawings were made standing at an easel using a stick of charcoal, something I had never done.  Beth got us each to draw our purses.  It's called a contour drawing, just drawing the basic outline of something.  We only had about 60 seconds to do it.

After a few more sketches, I drew Sarah's purse and the scarf tied to it.  The idea is to get the essence of the item and if you can, convey some of the energy.

Then we had to draw on the piece of paper under the top piece of paper, so we couldn't see what we were drawing - yikes!  But a very cool result.

After that, we sat down and started drawing in our sketchbooks.  Same idea, more contour drawings, some "blink" and some not only now we were drawing our own hand.  Danny Gregory has a similar exercise at the beginning of his book called "The Creative License".  He says it's all about turning off the left (analytical) side of your brain and using the right side of your brain so you can really see an object, rather than drawing what you think you are seeing.  It also involves going slooooow, taking your time. That is going to take some practice for sure!

The initial results were quite hilarious and in some cases, resembled the Incredible Hulk's hand more than my own:

But the more we did it, the better (in my humble opinion) I got.

Then I drew a few pictures of my camera.

Can't wait until next week's class!  In the meantime, I will definitely be doing my homework - which is to - you guessed it - practice making contour drawings!

1 comment:

Diana Trout {Nan.DT@verizon.net} said...

OH Yay for you! I'm so glad and you will see that drawing is a simple matter of practice - and it looks like you've already had some proof of that