Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Life classes past

I was planning to post some little sketches I did on Sunday, and talk about my cat, BUT... the zeitgeist currently is pushing me in the direction of life drawing, life classes and groups. I read Africantapestry's post on it a week or so ago, and thought I'd love to get back to that, then my sister did a post on it yesterday, and this morning I found Katherine Tyrrell's usual thorough, well-researched and well-linked post on the subject.

So I spent the morning, unrolling dusty, cobwebby and fishmoth-chewed drawings from life sessions past - I've had them hanging around, some records of almost rapturous autumn mornings spent with an inspiring teacher, some stiff ungainly forays back into the genre after long absences, some I wanted to frame and hang, but was too protective of them from the 'nudge, nudge, wink, wink' brigade. All of them with the long-asked question hanging over them..."What on earth to do with them all?"

So this is what I'm doing - I've photographed them, rather badly probably, cleaned up the chew-holes and critter-droppings in Photopaint, and am posting some today, some tomorrow or the next (there are rather a lot), and then they'll all be here (forever?), and the gogga-food can mostly move on off to the recycle depot, I guess. Maybe I will frame one.

These are from classes and workshops with a wonderful teacher, Hermine Spies Coleman, who has since sadly for us, moved to Giverney in
Kwa-Zulu Natal. She was the most encouraging tutor, seeing promise and excitement in the greenest and most nervous life-newbie's efforts, and urging us all to seek the personal, the unique, our own interpretation of every model and every pose. She wasn't too hung up on proportion and measurements - as you can no doubt tell from these - but movement, thrust, animal-like qualities (pic 2 I was thinking of a cheetah I think), machine-like qualities (a spine becoming a drill in this one below), bone, muscle and sinew stretching and straining, she'd push us to break out of our comfort zones and we'd go home exhausted but elated.

The studio was sun-drenched, so strong shadows sometimes fell on the model - but that was turned to advantage when we were encouraged to see the abstract emerging on our pages.
This last one has bitter-sweet memories... while I was engrossed in capturing the twisted movement, my car was being pinched from outside the gate!


Gillian said...

I think I remember seeing some of these years ago. Is the model CW from my college days? I've only had the privilege of a life drawing class once in EL -

Cathy Gatland said...

Yes, most of these were CW... she's a great model - skinny but muscular, and completely relaxed and comfortable in her skin - maybe helped by her drama school training.

Making A Mark said...

Well if they were mine and I had to choose one I think I'd have to frame the bottom. I must say I never expected to ever "have to frame the bottom" in a comment ever but there you go! ;)

I really like that one - I think because of the empty space.

I also really like the last one.

Gosh - I really triggered something here! I hope you find yourself back in a class and staring at a model very soon. Your tutor sound great BTW.

Vivienne said...

Oh Wow. Thank goodness you have recorded them, including posteriors)(ha ha),for posterity and for us to see. I remember your talking about Hermine Spies, but I don't think I have seen the results before. You must have been delighted to re-encounter them.They are very strong.XXX

Cathy Gatland said...

Well the bottom one, ie. the last one :-) is my favourite, but I did that on newsprint, which is now torn and yellowed. The ones I did on good paper are just rubbish, of course! The one I think I might frame is a watercolour I'll post later today. I don't know about posterity, but I'll be glad to have more space in my little studio.

Anonymous said...

I love all your sketches you did here...some for their wonderful movement and others for their almost abstract interpretation and then the last one for its soft touch. It is great that you could be so diverse in one sitting...and with such ease?
PS: Thanks for the mention..

Cathy Gatland said...

These were over a few different sessions - it was a week-long workshop, thanks Ronell