Sunday, January 13, 2013

Nude Depiction

Yesterday's painting, oil on linen, 18 x 24 inches. Took about six hours to make.
Some of my greatest pleasures come when drawing and painting the human form. Thankfully, there is a tradition in art of copying human anatomy that goes back thousands of years, to the ancient Greeks, who exalted nudes in classical studies—especially sculpture.

Societies around the world have placed taboos on nudity, but in art, it is sanctioned. Why? Because for the most part, the nude depiction in art goes beyond sexuality and touches the sublime.

It is pleasurable when a model takes off clothing to reveal his or her form. The moment can be powerful, and there are anecdotes about famous artists not being able to handle it—Cezanne for instance could only paint clothed subjects.

Models come in all shapes and sizes. I have worked from skinny people, short and tall, and one woman so fat that her flesh rolled in waves over her body.
Nude, oil on linen, 18 x 24 inches.

I met my wife, Heidi Of The Mountains, for the first time when I showed up at a drawing group and she was the model. I have drawn her many times now, since she continues to model for artist groups.

Yesterday, I gathered with a regular Saturday group who hire models to take one pose all day. The group begins in the morning, takes a break for lunch, and returns in the afternoon. The model poses for twenty minutes at a time, with five-minute breaks, before resuming the same posture. Both men and women artists participate.

Every group is different, depending on who is running it and who participates. Sometimes, there is no talking while a serious work attitude prevails. The groups I have gone to for years are far more relaxed, and conversations unfold, with a fair amount of joking and laughter.

See: Steven Boone Figures
Charcoal on paper, 11 x 14 inches. "Heidi."

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