Back to Basics

Most of my studio time I spend working from reference images. This is unfortunate, since the work that I create based on reference images is generally more static than when I am working from a model. For many years, I would choose not to work at all if I couldn’t work from a model. Over the years, I have come to realize that any work is better than no work. So, working around my schedule, usually on the weekend or in the evenings, I work from whatever images I can acquire. From books, catalogs, magazines, websites or my own sketches. The important thing is to keep working.

In order to maintain some connection with reality however, I attend a regular live modelling and drawing group each Friday night. It’s an informal group, hosted by Paul Buckner. Paul was one of my sculpture professors in college, whom having retired, continues to stay involved with the art community. Models usually pose for five sessions, and whoever shows up splits the cost of the model. There is a mix of sculptures, painters, and draftspersons. However, the group is generally older, with everyone ending the week with whatever art they can after a long week of their normal jobs. Once a week is a easier commitment for these people, balancing family and work. However, since the group meets on Fridays, sometimes I can’t make the class for the week. Five sessions is really the minimum amount of time to create a 1/3 scale figurative sculpture of finish quality. As a result, it can be frustrating to come into a pose late, or not be able to finish one. On a lark, I decided to sketch instead. Sketching is something that is easily done within a single session, and there is no need for the continuity of multiple sessions for smaller work. This has given me the freedom to enjoy the process, without the anxiety of trying to catch up.

It’s ironic because I no matter how much time I spend sculpting, I aways think of myself as a draftsperson first.


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