Figure 2 and 3 and stick and no I dont want to rub brown on my ugly painting because i spent hour making it!

Before I talk as promised of the figure drawing 2 and 3 let me tell you about my week:
This is for me week 4 of head painting. Glazing is the topic, well on form of glazing, and Glenn Vilppu warns us at the very start of the lesson: "this is where people have a heart attack".
He's almost not kidding: we spent the first week doing and oil portrait retouching it, it is not marvelous (mine anyway) but it's there. And to celebrate this in week 4 (if the painting is dry) we take a piece of kitchen roll, put some oil on it and rub the painting (ok, so far my heart is ok) and then, we take another kitchen roll bit and put some raw umber on it and... rub it on the painting! your painting dissapears! raaaaaah my heart indeed this is crazy but apparently this is the way things are done (since oil painting exist I guess) and then you take another bit of kitchen roll and rub off (you have to be rather aggressive) over the raw umber you just put over your painting. The painting sort of reapears like a brownish ghost, and you are there thinking: "my god what have I done? what to do next?" not to worry Glenn is there to give you the solution: you repaint over your painting, correcting what was wrong.
I read somewhere a meme saying: dont hold on to a mistake just because you spent hours making it. It's I think a bit the idea here: now that we have something to correct let's do it. It takes guts, it take forgetting the natural reaction of "but I spend hours on the original ugly painting!" and.... well it works. My "repainting" is much better than the original, at least to my eye, I'm waiting for Glenn to critic it, and I'm eager to know what i can do better (answer:lots!). and do it and get better.

All this to say art is not just about doing things but also about not falling in love with your drawing or painting, because if you are a real artist you make so many artworks that one being repainted over is really nothing to write home about. Don't fall in love with your work, that is very important.

Now figure drawing two (I'll talk about three at the end of this entry). In figure drawing one you learns the nuts and bolts to create forms, shapes (no it's not the same) observe the whole and not copy what you see, analyse with the tools that Glenn gives you and that generations of students can tell you about: "it works!". ("generations"... no I'm not calling Glenn old but just saying he started teaching when he was 21 and he is now 85 and in better physical and mental shape that me!

But what to do with those tools? How to be more expressive? what about foreshortening (it's easy, I promise) how to show depth in a drawing - give that feeling you could walk into the art work, direct the eye, put the darkest dark in the right place, use drapery... well these are all answered in figure drawing 2 which is one of my favourite course (some of it has a feeling of magic: diagraming space making the drawing a window to another world you can walk into is amazing) there are many other things too (oh and there is a full course about drapery if you want to go further that route).

It's a very important class: you learned how to "draw" in figure one, now you are learning how to make art (my view of it but I think most students would agree) It's also an important class because it prepares you for the two composition classes (more about this later)

Figure drawing 3 is about getting away from your comfort zone, we all love our comfort zone: our same old pencil or charcoal, we never try anything else because it works - bad idea - different medias will help you show different sides of your personality and therefore draw in a different style (not sure style is the right word). It is also the most fun class of all even if it is deeply disturbing. Want an example: you start by drawing with.... a stick, yes go to the park pick a stick (if you are a fanatic use coffee as ink) and you'll find out you can draw with a stick! more than that: like an actor putting a mask on his her face makes him move differently this change of media makes you draw differently. I wont list the number of medias used during the ten weeks of figure drawing 3 but frankly even though it was not in the curriculum I tried drawing with my fingers and with a toothbrush to see what the tools of my childhood's miserable attempts at art allowed me to do now that I had learned with Glenn.... the results are amazing and suddenly you see possibilities: sure you spend figure one trying to draw like Glenn, we all do, but suddenly you see modern abstract art differently (Glenn considers abstract to be one of his main points even in figurative art - more about this when I talk about the two composition classes)

In short the three figure classes are one in fact, one doesnt have meaning without the others.

See you next week, and yes take a chopstick, give it a point and see what you can do with it and a bottle of ink, you'll understand better what I tried to convey.

The more I think about it, the more I realise that Glenn Vilppu's classes teach us how to draw not only through making lines or sharing, but by an attitude change, cause we all start with the attitude we had when we were kids "mum look I did a master piece, put it on the fridge" there is a lot of things to change in our relationship with the art we do.

Draw as usual and dont forget to be a little crazy. Doing pretty pictures is not the goal, making a drawing that tells a story is.

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