Sunday, December 20, 2009

Warm up those artistic muscles (warning - nudie pics)

Watercolour Pencil Sketch. Life Drawing. A.Sunde 2009

Even though I love to draw children, life drawing sessions are essential to the development of my skills as an artist. With a live model there is no choice but to draw the figure in the position I see her/ him. That means it's not possible to turn the model on his/her head (as I might a photo) simply because it's easier to capture a certain curve or a particular stroke.

Graphite Sketch. Life Drawing. A. Sunde 2009

Before I start to draw I have learnt to do warm up exercises designed to loosen my strokes and relax my mind. The exercises train my brain to remember arm and hand movements through repetition, using both left and right hands (sometimes simultaneously). It also shifts the focus of my mind to the 'right brain'. In other words the left analytical brain becomes so bored with the exercises it switches off and hey presto I am able to draw what I see and not what I 'think' I see.

These movements will then help me more accurately capture the image before me, even when I'm not looking at it. That makes it sound simple doesn't it?

Acrylic sketch. Life Drawing. A.Sunde 2009

I study Life Drawing at the Gold Coast Art School with Tony Champ. We begin by drawing circles, repeatedly, without taking the pencil off the paper, big ones, small ones, in one direction, then the next, with our right hand and then our left for ten minutes each. Then we do figure eights, then ellipses.

By now it's apparent to me that a certain direction of stroke feels uncomfortable and awkward. My hand just doesn't naturally relax into the movement. That will be my weak stroke and that's the one I need to practise the most, just like an archer practises his aim so he can shoot the bullseye with his eyes shut.

Speed is essential in Life Drawing. The less time you have the looser your strokes. You learn quickly to draw from the elbow and not the wrist. These exercises have helped me to achieve that relaxed sketch I so admire in others.

But the real trick is to draw with your heart and not your intellect.


Anonymous said...

Hi Angela

Two late bloggers up commenting on each others' posts :)

These are wonderful. You've inspired me to seek out life drawing classes, something I've been meaning to do for a while. I so wish I was on the Coast with you so we could do it together - art classes are much more fun with friends. But seeking it out in Adelaide will help me to meet people I suppose...

I love the third image in particular. Gorgeous.


Angela Sunde. said...

Thanks Kath, I knew you were still awake. Yes, the third is my favourite. There is so much to do (writing, drawing, blogging) it's hard keeping up with it all. You are the one who understands this balancing act and you're so good at it!
That's a great way to meet new people. I'd definitely look into it in Adelaide. Will miss you.

Anonymous said...

Love this post, Angela! You've stirred up the 'missing art' part of me and I wish I was down there too with you, at a life class. Could go to one here, but so much better with a friend!
Love the hints you've given about freeing up the mind and the arm first.
I can remember how inadequate I first felt in life drawing classes - and how after a few weeks the drawing freed itself from the page.

Dee White said...

Angela, you are so talented.

Thanks for this fascinating insight.


Michael Bauer said...

Loved the post Angela. Wow, how talented are you?

Angela Sunde. said...

Thanks Sheryl, Dee and Michael,

If I could go to Life Drawing every week I would, but it's exhausting. These were done on a weekend workshop over 2 days, so we were right 'in the zone'.
I know about feeling inadequate, but I'm going to hang in there.
Sheryl, you have to exercise that art muscle again. I love your work.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic pics, Angela. And great insight into how you go about it. It will be of no use to me because I can't draw at all! But I'm going to show my 10 yo, who can. Although when I mentioned that he might do life drawing classes one day in the future he was absolutely horrified at the thought of drawing a naked woman!

BookChook said...

Lured by nude, I stayed to read about exercises for artists. Saw too that you have manuscripts under consideration. Wonderful!

Angela Sunde. said...

Trudie. That is so funny. Thanks everyone for your positive comments.

Unknown said...

A1QMS's Quality Management System holistic, collaborative, and structured approach
provides bespoke management solutions. and continuous support for your organisation's
needs to realise and its implementation efficiently and effectively.

small business consultancy
business consultancy