Friday, January 2, 2015


Not really what you think: it's actually the UAF Department of Recreation, Adventure and Wellness. But I still want a uniform to wear around the art department.

This semester's posse of potential talent saddled up and field-tripped on over to the Student Rec Center and spent two sessions sketching sweaty folks doing their exertions. Talk about big building full of endless opportunity to do figure drawings and gestures.: yet another unorthodox resource on campus for ideas and inspiration.

In five hours we sampled Middle-Eastern Dance, Ultimate Frisbee, weight-lifting, running, stationary machines, rock-climbing and any number of other sport activities.

We had spent the first portion of the course mercilessly drilling on gestures and timed poses, along with formal anatomical concerns and classical portraiture. Once we get up to speed it was time time to get out of the studio, go places and tap into life.

Because, as I explained to them, that's what life is all about... or at least Life Drawing. Life just ain't gonna step and take off it's clothes and assume a stationary pose for twenty minutes. Life is alive, in constant motion: it's the action... the verb of art. Sitting behind an easel in room is great for principles and practice, but where the pencil hits the paper that's when you get the lead out... literally in our case.

It's really, really hard, but thoroughly engaging and ultimately rewarding. Honing observational skills, recognizing patterns, capturing the essence of movement. Last but not least was the meta-lesson after sketching the woman's basketball team in practice: analogous to learning linear perspective in the symphony hall while in the presence of practicing musicians, it's practice. Noting how the overwhelming majority of players missed their shots during drills, it makes perfect sense to juxtapose our own efforts against such routines: so what if most of your drawings fail - that's not. the. point.

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