A Difference Between Life Drawing and a Thematic Work

Some years ago I hosted a weekly life drawing group, this one of my drawings from it. I very much like, even love the drawing, but I also don’t consider its theme as it is a life drawing.

Life drawing is normally when a nude model poses for a group or class. The poses are generally chosen by the model, the longer the pose the more ordinary the pose as difficult poses can be extremely painful. Also the artists usually don’t move around to select the perfect angle. Similarly the lighting is usually general and not adjusted to each unique pose.

A title for this drawing could be Bidding Her Time, as she looks down at her watch apparently counting the seconds until the pose or the session is over. In truth the attitude is just the reality of that session, and not as an expression of a theme.

That doesn’t belie the value artists get from drawing a live model, the challenge to the hand/sight skills, anatomy, proportions, line, forms, light and shadow, all racing against the clock. Its an exhilarating experience. But it misses the main point of art, which is to use technique to express something meaningful.

When I work privately with a model on a project, I have in mind a concept or an emotion that I want conveyed down to their toes, tilt of their head, and in the corner of their mouth. Such as the recent post of the portrait study for Lovers Jumping. It might sound controlling but there is a beautiful synergy with model as the often bring freshness and their unique character to the pose. This level of experience rarely can work in a group setting.

I hope you found this informative and helpful in either making or enjoying art.

Michael, Idyllwild, 11/23/2021, 2 AM

Frame of References:

Life Drawing. Overview at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figure_drawing

Art Canons of Human Proportions. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artistic_canons_of_body_proportions

Newberry, Michael. Triangulating the Figure. Portrait Triangulation Time-Lapse

Newberry, Michael. Body As a Means of Expression.
Schipperheyn’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra: https://newberryarchive.wordpress.com/2020/01/14/schipperheyns-thus-spoke-zarathustra/
Pandora’s Box Part III: https://newberryarchive.wordpress.com/2015/10/31/pandoras-box-part-3/

Richman-Abdou, Kelly. Learn the Remarkable History of Michelangelo’s ‘Dying Slave’ and ‘Rebellious Slave’ Sculptures: https://mymodernmet.com/michelangelo-slaves/

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