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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Figurative painting, here I come

While we were in New Zealand, I was given the name of an artist who lived in Amberley who painted live models. I thought now that really interests me, so gave him a ring.

Ok, so at this stage, I have not painted anyone is a formal class before. I have thoroughly enjoyed painting several renditions of my gorgeous husband, however this is the first time with a model who is; not related, who will also pose nude and where there will be other "experienced" artists. My heart is pounding and I have butterflies that are just itching to jump out of my mouth so to speak!

First impressions - what have I gotten myself into? This guy with the studio can really paint, there are obvious signs, like amazing paintings hanging around the place, that he has painted.

There are two other ladies present, they both enjoy painting portraits - head and shoulders only, so the fact that our model is naked is neither here nor there. They both take pride and enjoyment in letting me know that they have painted for many years about 15 years for one, 18 years for the other. I really feel like I am in over my head, they are not the slightest interested in me.

The model. She was great. Now my memory may fail me, I think she was something like a Ukranian (that might be the bit I get wrong) body builder. She was very self assured, muscular yet petite, has a rather sharp hair cut, is tattooed and fascinating.

The guy hosting us in his art studio is very welcoming. I love the whole setting of the stage, lights and poses, ready for action. Our host is happy for me to observe his technique after we have done a few warm up sketches. I start to loosen up and enjoy sketching this woman.

Later we begin painting, and I am still undecided as to what I would like to do. Eventually I decide on a body only painting, no head (I'm thinking I need to practise drawing heads in private, not in a studio with two ladies who specialise in them), think I'll go biggish, palette knife, bold strokes, just go for it. And I do, plus I enjoy the whole experience.

To paint or sketch someone while they are there in front of you is an amazing experience. I am pleased that I had a willing husband to practise on first, just to get over the initial nerves. If you ever get the opportunity, give it a go.

So which part of the process do I like the most? I must say, it's the warm up sketches that I find the most interesting. You begin with several 1, 3, 5 minute warm up sketches before moving on to a long pose. In my humble experience, a model can hold the most intriguing pose for shorter periods, whereas the long poses of 20 to 30 minutes need to be so comfortable for the model that they inevitably involve sitting or lying down and aren't nearly as amazing. It is those warm up sketches that I get the most painting inspiration from.

Have a look at these and decide whether they are short or long poses. You might like to try them out to see how long you could hold them......



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Hi there, feel free to leave a comment and ask any questions. Thanks, Desray

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