Finally, back to the figure studio!

It’s been a month since the last session of the previous figure-drawing studio, and in that time I haven’t done much painting. Is that why, last night at the first session of the fall term, I felt totally off and awkward? It took me forever to get any feel for what I was doing, and the vast majority of my short gesture drawings are so uninteresting, I didn’t even bother to photograph them for posterity.

Three two-minute gestures

The only gesture drawings I'm happy with

Two ten-minute poses

Two ten-minute poses

However… sometimes a little break is good for art. I go into each new term of figure drawing with slightly different eyes than I had before. A few sheets of subpar drawings are a small price to pay for that fresh perspective. This time I tried to use bolder strokes and colors, and that came across a little bit in these twenty-minute poses.

Craning watercolor painting (20 minutes)

Craning (20 minutes)

Gilded watercolor painting (20 minutes)

Gilded (20 minutes)

After two and a half hours, when we only had one pose left to go, Kato asked me, “Have you thought about using colors other than the ones you see?” I had thought about it — in fact, I probably think about it every time I paint — but hadn’t given it a serious try. She said I could just use different colors to represent tonal values, and that made something click in my mind. I went for it.

Watercolor painting, At home in the lotus (25 minutes)

At home in the lotus (25 minutes)

I hadn’t thought I was consciously trying to make pretty paintings before, but once I made up my mind to use crazy colors, something freed itself up in me and I felt much more able to experiment. I applied the paint in a totally different way than my usual, and strangely enough the final result was much more accurate than I expected, given that I didn’t do a pencil sketch. It was tons of fun and I can’t wait to try this again!

As always, click on any of the above images to see bigger versions, and read longer descriptions of the process of creating each.