Sunday, May 27, 2012


Spring semester is over – it was a tough one indeed! Here a few notes on the courses I have been through this semester. Let’s start with Sustained Figurative Concepts, else known as ILL 612 - I followed the session held by Jeannie Brunnick. The first thing I wondered when I enrolled was: what does “sustained” stand for…my curiosity was soon satisfied. In studio jargon, it seems, “sustained” stands for longer poses of the model, about 3 hours in length. This allows for more refined drawing and also for painting, and stands in contrast with more rapid gestural drawings served by shorter poses. From my point of view, however, “sustained” stood for the amount of work we were required to do. Not only were all figure drawings in full value in pastel, but we had two or three of those per week! Particular attention was given to gesture, proportions and value structure. Our palette was mostly monochromatic red, with some green thrown in for contrast. We started with nudes, alternating males and females, then moved on to the clothed figure. From asian girls in silk kimono to old men in cobold outfit we had them all: magicians, Mexican folk singers, rock stars, civil war soldiers, you name it. I am sure there are rooms at the AAU full of costumes and props designed to torture students: before each session the teacher and model discuss how to make students’ life most difficult with scarves, folds, hats, flowers and whatnot.
We used photographs, as I expected from the online setup, which made things not in the least easier, as photos flatten the values so much: I ended up working with three copies per subject, one normal, one overexposed and one underexposed. I particularly liked the lesson on combining references: pity we did not have an assignment for that one.
I definitely learned a lot, though it feels like the very beginning of mastering figure drawing. I had a tough lesson in value structure, which I am still digesting. And learned to use the pastels for good, which now have a honor standing in my media palette.
Here is a selection of what I believe to be the best drawings,,,,and a collage of all the rest: a pretty impressive number of poses!

Cora on the sofa

One of our Asian ladies

Have to work some more on this one, but it is one of my favorites

Sexy ones...

...tired ones...

A wood spirit?

And all together!

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