Continuing Education

Class Quest: Figuratively Speaking

There’s nothing more intimidating than a blank sheet of drawing paper. Well, maybe to the uninitiated, the nude man perched on a stool in front of the class. But one quickly becomes accustomed to the model, and the blank canvas, rather than imposing, appears full of possibilities.

I recently visited the Friday evening Figure Drawing class and found it an enjoyable way to wind down after a busy work week. In between the 20 minute long poses, the students milled around the room, looking at each other’s drawings and munching on the snacks Yulia - Alex’s assistant and wife - brings each time (side note: a balance of sweet and savory was beneficial in the creative process). For some, it was their first time in a drawing class and others, like me, we’re returning to art after some years.

At first my sketching was tight and unsure – my drawing hand was out of shape - and then the flow came. I relaxed and allowed myself Imageto become completely absorbed in the process, enjoying the human form emerging on paper with the help of Alex Chubotin, the instructor.

When my sketch took a Picasso-like turn, Alex helped me move all the misaligned limbs back into their proper position. “Do you see the spine there, and how the back curves into the leg?” Alex asked as he traced the area in question on the model’s body with a laser pointer. Why yes, yes I do. And now that you mention it, that leg really needs to be heavier. A second set of eyes does wonders for one’s art. As Alex moved around the room, he’d ask us to look for shapes, angles, how the body lines up, and negative space - so much to consider in just one human figure.

I was reminded of something one of my past art instructors used to say: draw what you see, not what you know. It’s a lesson I’ve had to learn over and over again. Isn’t that the way with life, too? We constantly have to remember to move beyond what we think we know and really see what’s in front of us.

For more details on the winter quarter Figure Drawing class starting 1/11/13, click here.