New York Marathon

Helloo-o-o, I am sorry I have neglected my blog for a few days. I have been a busy little bee. The truth is I have been in a New York Marathon this past weekend!
OK, well, a Drawing/Painting Marathon that is. Eh my marathon days are over - I got to do a 1/2 marathon once but that was as far as I got. I've put my running gear away for the time being.

But boy, did this marathon exceed my expectations and make me sweat for sure! What an amazing class and by far one of the most interesting classes I've ever taken! A true eye-opener and exactly what I needed. I always jump at the chance to take art classes. I have a huge appetite to learn and consider myself always evolving as an artist. I was searching for a class to help me practice my skills in figurative drawing and to help "loosen up" my style – what intrigued me about the class was the description...

This intense course is a form of boot camp for visual artists where we break through points of artistic resistance. Through a series of (virtually non-stop) drawing exercises - working from imagination and observation - students will loosen up their approach and attitude to art-making, and be inspired to work in new directions. The course emphasizes a highly disciplined, energetic way of working - quickly and intensely - to make the most of the limited length of the workshop; it requires setting aside preconceived, habitual ways and methods of working, and embracing spontaneity. Multiple models and props will be used for observational exercises. 

Now how can you resist not signing up for a class like this? I must admit I was pretty unsure what to expect and very unsure about my skills, especially drawing the figure - not to mention working on a larger scale (36" wide and 30" tall). We worked on large rolls of newsprint and rolls of good paper like Strathmore. We started out with large brushes and India ink. I had trouble working in such a large scale, fast and accurately. It took some time for me to loosen up my arm and just "let myself go".
Friday– First Day 
Theme: Life & Death
Here are some quick paintings after we did pages of 10, 20 second quick sketches... eek! What made Peter's class so different? Well... I have never done a figure drawing class with props like skeletal mask. Did I mention he had 5 very different models - they would go up 1 at a time and when all 5 posed together he'd have each move their position every 20 seconds one at a time. ugh tough.
Saturday– Second Day 
Theme: Animals/Birds 
Here (above) is a combination of some quick sketches done on Saturday. The top left is one of my favorite models in this class. She was just so large and wonderful to paint! I loved drawing her curves. Yes, she is wearing a cow head mask and that is a cow bell hanging down her neck. These are all painted on large newsprint, I started to use some color in these sketches but very little because I wanted to focus on the drawing. (somewhat). I find the quick sketches to be far more interesting, they just "feel" differently to me and I like that feeling.

Below are some 2-5 minute drawings from my 9x12 sketch book which I alternated using while working on larger work. I found that I felt most comfortable in my sketch book simply because I felt I had more control but I do think working larger helped loosen me up when it was time for me to hit the smaller size paper. 

The Animal/Bird Theme continued... 
This owls is my favorite again because I just love this big mama and her curves! Peter gave me a great tip on loosening up - he suggested I use a long stick and said it'll help me use my shoulder vs. my wrist. I used a bamboo stick and taped my brush to it... the following drawing is created using the stick method.
Sunday– Last Day 
Theme: Adam & Eve and Oriental Scenes
In this drawing the models where together to represent an apple tree their arms moved every 10 seconds.

I can't explain how this class has changed me. I finally got a taste of expressing my work through abstraction, spontaneity and more importantly I learned to let go and just paint what I feel. I hope I was able to show how exciting this class was and if you get a chance look Peter up – he's fabulous...