originally from Tuesday, June 9, 2009

For today’s last sketch, the forty-minute pose that I look forward to for the first three hours of class, I took out a sheet of dove-gray charcoal paper and drew with charcoal and black, pale gray, and white conte crayons.  My drawing, of our lovely model leaning over a folding chair, came out pretty lovely.  It’s the first thing I’ve made in class that looks sort of like art, and not just practice–although I love the aesthetic of the practice sketch especially when it’s in exhibits of Picasso or Da Vinci or anybody (the girl from Belorussia does this beautifully)–and I think I learned a lot from making it in those different tones of light and dark.  There is one woman who makes each of her drawings look like a completed picture.  She’s middle-aged, gray-haired, seems rather distracted, and almost always keeps her headset on.  She sets up a bunch of materials and expensive papers on her easel and works calmly and professionally.  Our instructor never comments on her work, except for today, when he introduced us to gesture drawing.  She was lovingly tracing some curves on her page when McElhinney comes over and says, “nice bum drawing”.  It was a drawing of our model’s lovely behind in detail.  Her drawings look good, but they’re sort of out of the energy and power and line that many of the other students draw with.  And her drawings all look the same: she’s settled comfortably into a style and doesn’t want to be bothered out of it, doesn’t want to make crazy wriggly one-minute gesture drawings not-looking at the page, not-with-your-drawing-hand.  I think she (although she produces some of the most polished and competent work in the class) might be the idiot our teacher talked about who just comes to class to make pretty pictures.
Our teacher when to Yale Art School in the late sixties, when the place, as he puts it, was still about painting and printmaking and not theory/conceptual artwork.  He had a girlfriend in the College who must have been one of the first Yale women.  They went to film societies–every residential college had one.  He showed the class his little watercolor sketchbook and tiny watercolor set bought in Italy.  He had remarkable, tiny pen and paint sketches in there.  “You have to be resourceful,” he said: for a couple of the paintings, he used beer instead of water.
After class I got strawberry ice cream (I dreamed about it this weekend, and felt much better after I finally ate some) and rode home, where I worked for a long time on guitar, just playing chords, learning new ones like minor sixths and a few of my first bar chords.  It’s going well, and my dad’s letting me play his beautiful stratocaster.  My hand is all sore, and it’s all worth it.
In other news… D and I are considering spending $200 a piece to see Paul McCartney live…


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