The Red Scarf,
16" x 11"
is nearly impossible to separate the painting process from the subjective
view of the human figure, but that is the goal of a life drawing/painting
session. I try to see the formal elements of color, line, shape, etc. in
one wave of observation, and then to see how it relates to the scene
before me. Deep shadows and warm colors, flowing lines, and rim lighting
are all part of the arrangement that includes a model in an expressive
pose. The problem is one of interpreting the mood and finding a way to
express it paint. That is my challenge: but, often that is not the
complete working process used to produce a figurative work of art.
Accomplishing this may happen at a more leisurely pace in the studio, with
drawing and photographs and maybe reference books (favorite artists,
magazine photos, anatomy books, how to books).
drawing or painting with the model, often it is all I can do, to capture
the scene with some personal (my skills and interests) vision of fidelity
and truth for the scene. My hope is that the challenge has worked itself
into my recording skills and imagination.
of the joy of working in a life-model session, is being part of an art
family, a support group. Iíve spent almost twenty years with the same
group of artist. It is a pleasure, most of the time, to work side by side
with a group of diverse, interesting, and accomplished artists. The
"most of the time" is a bit of humor, but that is part of a good
group. The humor, sharing, goal setting, and the comfort of being with
people of a shared history and interest expand the sessions to being truly
about "life" drawing/painting. Our sessions are not similar to
academic exercises, but energetic gatherings full of discussions and
personal anecdotes. A personal note: they have their children and family
activities (something I hear about constantly) and I have my animals
(something they must listen to). By the way, my baby lab/rott/cocker loves
computer games, the Internet, and calculus -- also, she has a photographic
-- Ray M. Hershberger 2001