Still Recovering

“What from,” you ask kindly?  From the fact that last night’s art class was all about drawing the human form with a LIVE NUDE MALE MODEL that’s what!!!!  

Yes, yes, I knew it was going to be part of the class requirements AFTER I attended the first session, but Lord have mercy people…I’m still recovering.  And ABSOLUTELY NO WAY will any of those pictures be posted for viewing!

When the model entered the room carrying his gym bag and wearing a white bathrobe, my prayer was “Dear Merciful Lord, please, I beg You, let him have shorts or a jock strap or something under that robe!”  

Once the students got set up with easel, charcoal and newsprint, ‘Bruce’ changed in the bathroom.  He came to the class with a white bathrobe, he climbed the podium 2 feet off the ground, the professor worked with the lighting, the comfy cushions came out for his standing and sitting comfort…then…off came the robe.  Sigh.  No shorts ladies and gentlemen.  Not a bloody stitch of clothing on this 50ish male with greying hair and small beer belly.

In addition to this shock to my senses, I might add I have never in my entire life drawn a human being.  Ever.  Not even hands, feet, face, nose, whatever. Nada.  Zilch. Zippo.  Thus, I didn’t have a clue where to start.  The professor’s instructions were, draw a stick figure to get the basic armature of the human body and go from there.  Uh…okay…I can draw stick figures.  Geesh.

This of course, dear readers, entails looking at the model.  One must stare and using a pencil or dowel, measure angles…yes, angles…of everything.  It took me at least 90 minutes to work up enough to courage to look anywhere south of the border.

To draw anything one must look at the object with scrutiny in order to to see into it.  It is difficult to explain.  It is like one of Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures.  When you look at it for a solid minute, you can see where he was going to go with his chisel in order for the stone to give birth to the image.  This same notion applies to drawing the body.  How does the thigh muscle bulge in relation to the knee?  What is the angle of the ankle related to the floor, the leg and the other leg?  Etc.  

But what happened, at least to me, was that I became divorced from the person standing before me.  This man named Bruce became an object.  De-humanized.  Once that happened, I was able to look at all the parts of his body as nothing more than an object to be rendered in charcoal, just like a cup or a vase or a flower.  Then I could see the shadowing of the spine, if the hip joints were parallel to the floor or angled a certain way, and things like that.  While this understanding made it easier to look, measure and draw, it also made me sad to know that I had to reduce a human being to nothing more than an object.  

We have a couple more classes in which we will continue drawing the human body.  While I am glad to understand the basic building blocks of how to accomplish this, I think I would have preferred if the man had at least retained something to cover his male body parts.  I guess a female model will be next.


11 thoughts on “Still Recovering

  1. I guess life drawing is a lot more entertaining for men than it is for women. Tongue in cheek aside, yes there is an objectification of the person in a sense, but can there also be a lesson in the fact that we have to objectify someone in order to be “comfortable” with their nakedness? Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed. Perhaps it is our OWN fallenness that requires objectification, and if we were truly sancitfied we could see the model’s nakedness and beyond it to the person and not be ashamed.

  2. You’re braver than me! 🙂 I want to learn to draw the human form but am entirely too modest to sign up for a life drawing class…thanks for sharing this story with us!

  3. Tee hee, I love your mom’s comment.

    And, what? You aren’t going to post them? I’m shocked, shocked I say 🙂

  4. If I had been there, I would have been thrown out of class in short order purely because the **very best** things I can draw are – stick figures, LOL.
    Even if I draw fruit 🙂

    Glad you survived the experience !

  5. My Dearest Daughter I could not stop laughing mostly at your embarrassment. And just at the ripe old age of 49 you thought you had seen it all. I am very proud of you as you got passed the initial shock. Now back to the drawing board.

  6. I have a friend from long ago who refused that portion of the class and did not graduate in Art. I guess you got past the person to the object. I am not sure if that is good or bad, but I am very glad that doctors do it all the time.

  7. Oh my. I must confess I laughed, but only because I am imagining what my reactions would be: exactly the same as yours I suspect. I’d probably draw a fig leaf over a certain area. 🙂

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