I’ll be teaching a portrait drawing class December 10, 2015 at Town Hall Arts/Galerie Copper in Copperopolis. Hope to see you there.
How in the world do non-musicians spend their time? The day after Thanksgiving, I attended a music party where tunes raged, fueled by left-over turkey, cranberry sauce, and chocolate-pudding pie.
I knew there were going to be a lot of American Old-Time tunes, which I don’t usually play (I’m more of an Irish-jig-and-reel girl). But I didn’t want to be left behind while the fiddler had fun, so I brought my trusty sketchbook and practiced portraits on the fly.
Drawing a moving target is tough. You can see in these sketches lines that have been partially erased because my subject shifted or stopped playing and I had to start again. Drawing at a musical house party means waiting for a waltzing couple to stop dancing into my line of vision. It means paying attention to the tune so that I know how much longer I have before the musicians stop playing and take a break to drink, eat, or simply gab. It means that I might suddenly have to stop drawing because Hey! I know that tune!
Often, when I teach life drawing, students complain when the model moves. Indeed, that is frustrating, and I used to whine about it too. But then I realized that humans aren’t statues; we twitch and wiggle and shift. We move.
So if you can’t count on the model being still, what do you do?
- Draw fast Sketch really fast to try to get as much information on the page as possible.
- Give up on details Don’t worry about things like faces until you’ve blocked in the big shapes. Block in the big planes of the face before zeroing in on each feature.
- Remember Life drawing exercises your memory, but only if you pay attention. Keep track of the position, because it’s likely the model will move back into it.
- Observe It’s why you’re drawing, ‘ent it?
I wish everybody would find the joy in music, and not just as consumers, but as participants. I especially wish for everyone the joy of playing these folk traditions, where people play together, having musical conversations rather than performances. If you’re interested in learning more and live in the Bay Area, please check out the following links.
Santa Clara Fiddlers Association
California State Old Time Fiddlers Association