While I’ve been drawing from life on a regular basis for almost twenty years, I only started painting from life in earnest a few years ago. I felt limited by my own imagination when painting out of my head. I needed to know more about color and light. These paintings were done in three hours a piece. When trying to paint accurately from the live model it feels like a three hour long sprint. These paintings are of two of my favorite models, Traci and Linda. They’re both done in gouache on 14×18″ Annigoni paper.
Drawing from life is to my art what sleeping, eating, and regular exercise are to my body. I’ve gone to at least one three-hour life session a week for the past fifteen years. Every pose, typically ranging from one minute to twenty, challenges me to do the impossible, to do justice to the model before me.
This is one of my favorite models, Star, in a 20 minute pose:
While working on a drawing like this I’m juggling several problems: design, proportions, lighting, materials, kinesthesia, and the personality of the model, to name a few. What remains on the paper is the evidence of my struggle to harmonize those elements.
Here are some very fast drawings of Star, of one and two minute poses:
There’s no time for thought while working at this speed. I feel like a tennis pro going for a ball, or a cat pouncing: in the moment, no time for reflection, but still making lighting-quick adjustments to my course.
Thanks for your time, more posts coming soon!