It wasn't just me that was sweating this evening after all! I got to the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) on a rainy night and found that nearly all of the 10 or so adult students taking Kurt Holloman's Beginning Drawing Perceptions class were rather dreading the evening with our first live model. It's one thing to attempt to draw a vase or a lamp. Those objects, when drawn using some of the left brain's devilishly rote ideas about the subject, can simply look a bit "off". But in drawing a portrait or, more difficult, the whole figure, the lapse in careful observation becomes very obvious. We know what a human should look like, we are observing them everyday all day in close quarters and have been looking at faces and their expressions since we were babies. My efforts to draw the face previously have been somewhat successful and I have been encouraged during the first 5 classes of this course to continue my pursuit of drawing. I am contemplating following this effort into the world of painting.
One thing I have noticed during the brief time that I have made looking and seeing and drawing a priority is the way I look at the faces and figures around me. I am looking for a sense of mass and shape, line and expression. I effort to slow down and observe the details and individuality of what I am looking at, really seeing someone or something and not simply drawing what my automatic or "left brain" sees based on habit, judgement or simple inattention. This new emphasis on attention and reportage of details infuses everything I do with a sense of the artistic beauty that exists within the human form and in the human spirit. In the depth of winter, there is still presence and power of line and shadow all around. This elemental beauty in a time of darkness reminds me of the utter beauty that flowed from the tortured soul of Vincent Van Gogh and how he sold one solitary painting during his lifetime but felt compelled to paint and draw the beautiful world and ordinary people around him. And oh what paintings he did!I will keep drawing and painting until I am old because I want to see the world as it really is and honor it with my attention.