Tag Archives: drawing

Nude Modelling (!)

Figure drawing has always been one of my favorite artistic activities. There is nothing I find more interesting to draw than the human form. While taking many figure drawing courses and classes over the last 25 years, I often wondered what it would be like to model. Many years ago, I put nude modelling on my list of “1001 Things in 101 Days” (a sort of bucket list), thinking that it would never actually happen. More recently, the wondering became a wanting.

In the last few months, my friend Deseré Pressey (an amazing artist – check out her work) began the Off-Beat Figure Drawing sessions in Calgary. There are several models at these events (read about one male model’s experience here), and the atmosphere is relaxed and fun. When Deseré decided to host a special woman-focused session for International Women’s Day, I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to make my first attempt at modelling.

There were two reasons I had for wanting to try nude modelling. First: my meditation practice has been more regular in the last few months, and I look for opportunities to try longer practices. This seemed like the ultimate meditation practice (nude, in front of strangers, with long poses). Second: my journey to fully and completely accepting my body is far from over, and it seemed to me that exposing myself in front of strangers would either push me further into acceptance, or at least, allow me to learn more about my process of acceptance.

The session was held at the beautiful Wolf Willow Studios, and was an intimate gathering of women, with accompanying harp music by the amazing Eily Aurora. I had been excited all day, which flipped into nervousness in the hour before dropping my robe. Luckily, a more seasoned model was willing to give me tips and she helped me feel more comfortable before we began.

Turned out that there were women attending that I knew, but I didn’t allow that to freak me out. I noticed that I thought I “should” freak out about it, but I wasn’t really feeling it. The hardest part was dropping the robe, but that was easier once I saw that the other two models had done so already.

During the first few poses, I noticed that I felt a bit closed off from the group, and I think my poses expressed that somewhat. By dropping my physical protection, my mind gave me a mental protection, a kind of barrier. Eventually, as the night went on, I relaxed and was able to drop that feeling.

photo by Michelina Bamford

photo by Michelina Bamford

The modelling portion of the evening went well – I didn’t choose any poses that I wasn’t able to hold, and none of my body parts fell asleep – YAY! I did notice, though, that because I have been an artist at figure drawing sessions, I have preferences about what I enjoy drawing (women more than men, and women with more folds and curves more than angular, thin women). These preferences influenced the way I thought about my body during and after the session. My usual feelings of not measuring up because of the way society tells me I should be (flat stomach, clear skin, thin, etc), completely flipped around to feeling like I wasn’t good enough because I wasn’t large enough, wasn’t curvy enough, didn’t have enough folds – basically, not interesting enough to draw.

Fascinating how the mind works, yes?

Instead of feeling not good enough, I would love to come to the place of fully accepting that all bodies are beautiful. I understand it, I just don’t completely feel it yet within myself. Getting there, though. And I’m a lot closer than I have ever been to really knowing this.

So many people commented to me that I was brave for doing this. This hasn’t completely sunk in, or I maybe because I have done it, I no longer think of it as that big a deal. Or maybe, I didn’t quite understand the sentiment. I don’t think it’s necessarily brave to stand naked in front of strangers, but I do think it’s brave to try something that is completely new and a little scary, whatever that may be for you.

Drawing and photo by Deseré Pressey. The two central figures are me!

Drawing and photo by Deseré Pressey. The two central figures are me!

Sketchbook Project 2013 Update (my 300th post, ever!)

For other Sketchbook Project posts, click here.

The end is so close! I am almost done, and I would love to finish this before Christmas so I don’t even have to think about it in January! The Sketchbook Project is now a more flexible thing to join – you can sign up at anytime, and take your time finishing your book. The deadline only comes in if you sign up for a tour. It must be an easier way for them to organize it, but I have to admit, the grandiose-project feeling is a bit lost now for me. I haven’t decided if I will continue with it, yet. Are you more inclined to try it, now that the pressure is off? I guess I work better with a little bit of pressure!

Here are the next 5 spreads in my book!

1

2

3

4

5

What Should I Draw?

I’m still working at filling up my book for the Sketchbook Project, but some days, when I sit down to draw, I draw (pun intended) a complete blank. It can get a little tiresome to always draw my shoes, or my hands, and even though there is plenty to choose from, I can’t seem to pick. So what to do? Luckily, other folks out there in the land of the internets have come up with some ideas!

Many months ago, I noticed that a tweet that said @AyersMan had the idea of drawing his Twitter followers. I thought this was such a cool idea that I started following him right away. He eventually got around to doing the drawings, and because I was so quick to respond to his Tweet, he decided to draw me first! You can see the result here. I love how he incorporated bits of my artwork into this portrait: rainbows, circles, even my font! Awesome, eh?! I love this idea, and might try doing this as inchies, since the profile pics are so small.

One of my favorite people in the world, Jenny Doh, came up with the cool idea of doing blind-contour drawings of her Instagram photos. There’s endless inspiration right there – I mean after all, if it was good enough to photograph, surely it’s good enough to draw, too, right?!

Finally, Danny Gregory, the master of drawing things from everyday life, has a list of “Everyday Matters Challenges” on his blog, ranging from drawing your bed (#5) to drawing something forbidden (#321). I love the idea of these challenges, and fully intend to try them out soon.

Illustration Friday is another site that posts weekly challenges with one word, and participants can post their drawings.

Well, hopefully that has given you a bit of inspiration. I’m going to go draw now!

Sketchbook Project LE

The deadline for the Sketchbook Project Limited Edition is fast approaching, and I need to get drawing! I’m almost half finished, but I just started scanning the images. I really need to get to work on this one! Anyway, here’s the intro page!

Sketchbook Project 2012

Sketchbook Project 2012 - Cover

The deadline has come and gone, and my Sketchbook Project 2012 (as well as those belonging to my three kids) has arrived safely at the Brooklyn Art Library. [OK, all you grammar-police... would you have said "has arrived" or "have arrived" in that last sentence? Oh, that bugs me that I don't know!] I am patiently looking forward to the digitized version of my sketchbook (I’ll let you know when that happens), and looking forward to visiting it (along with my 2011 book, again) in October!

We had a lot of fun working on this project together. I love seeing what the kids come up with! Here’s a little sampling from O’s and C’s books (I already blogged about Z’s book! Have to keep it fair!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some of my favourite spreads from my book:

 

On to the Sketchbook Project: Limited Edition. I’m almost half way through the book! Yay! There are less than 300 books left if you want to join!

Kaboom! Comix

My kids are all taking part in the Sketchbook Project: Limited Edition, and my daughter Z has decided to do hers all in comics. She calls her book, “Kaboom Comics”. I adore the drawings and the edgy humour. As a kid, I always wanted to be able to draw comics, but I didn’t feel like it came naturally, and all the comedic talent went to my brother, James (his is a baseball site – not devoted to being funny, but still funny at times).  These comics come easy to her, though. I watched her as she whipped them off, page after page. Where are these ideas coming from?! These are a few of my favourites.

Starbucks Tizzy

The Sketchbook Project p. 27-28.

I love how sketches can draw me back to the time when they were made. These pages were done at Starbucks, when my Ma was visiting us in November. I don’t usually spend much time there (my Mom does, though!!), but it was so cozy and comforting to be in a warm place, on a cold day, drinking hot, sweet drinks, with my Ma!! We worked on the drawing on the right together, taking turns saying, “Switch!”, when we would have to turn the page around and continue drawing. I’ve only done a couple drawings like this (with other people), but I really like how they turn out. And now when I see it, I think of my Mom. I love you, Ma!!

WordPress has started a Post a Day and Post a Week challenge. I am so tempted by these challenges, which is why I am right in the middle of the Sketchbook Project! But – I’m almost done! Just *this* close to finishing! I’m seriously behind on scanning the images in, but that will happen, eventually. I was tempted by Flickr’s 365 Day project as well, but I know I wouldn’t be able to keep up to that one. So… should I join in on the Post a Week? Or is that too much pressure?