Monday, March 30, 2009

How I Survived the 2009 Georgia General Assembly - Part 1: Drawing Class

This post is the first in a series in which I will share with you, dear reader, the little things that kept me from losing my marbles during the 2009 Georgia General Assembly. This is no small task mind you when you're a low-budget lobbyist whose constituency is in prison. This session, I really wanted to explore different ways to ease stress and minimize the misery that has always defined the legislative session and hopefully find ways to be happy and fulfilled even when I'm losing on a daily basis at the Gold Dome.

This first installment in the series is about the wonderful drawing class I took at Callanwolde thanks to the generosity of my wonderful Mom and Dad. Thanks guys!! I considered that it might be slightly crazy to commit to a weekly responsibility in the evenings when we work such long days - in heels, on marble - but I found myself anxiously awaiting Tuesday nights and being up to my elbows in charcoal. Taught by Marc Brotherton, those 3 hours each week were a complete escape from the politics and strategies, my buzzing blackberry and my ever-growing to-do list.

To draw, you have to actually look. You really have to look at whatever it is in front of you. Marc ran us through all sorts of exercises to help us develop our hand-charcoal coordination, starting with 15 and 30 second drawing drills and eventually doing longer studies of still lifes and live models. And my drawing abilities actually improved!

In the beginning, Marc showed us different techniques like the ones in these three drawings from my first class:

Mass gesture is broad marks used to create density and weight.

Scribble gesture uses scribble scrabble to show weight and density.

Contour line gesture shows the outline and other visible edges of an object.

In later classes we continued with the drills to practice, but also got to do some cool techniques like this charcoal paper - you color the page with the charcoal and then use your eraser to create the shapes and lighting:

In other classes we got to bring in objects from home to draw. Of course I brought my skull, a.k.a. "The Old Girl" (minus her usual Bedouin headdress, naturally):

I got to bring in my favorite water pitcher, also a gift from Mom and Dad:

In the final weeks of the class we had live models pose for us. This was the most challenging part of the class for me, but also the most rewarding. It takes such a long time to really see the body, to see skin and its variety on a single body.

One thing I really learned from this class was that drawing is all about practice. The importance of warming up and repetition cannot be underestimated, and after a certain point looking and translating onto paper came much more naturally. I also learned that I LOVE charcoal - love it - and I love India ink. Great fun, these tools.

Something I learned about myself is that the strategic part of my mind and the creative side compliment each other nicely. I often found that driving home from class I would figure out the next step or the perfect person that could help me accomplish the next day's goals that had previously been eluding me.

Thanks again to Mom and Dad for the gift of this class! And thanks Marc for being a great teacher. Stay tuned for more tales of survival in the coming days in this (hopefully) last week of the legislative session.

1 comment:

Reem Tara said...

!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE...wait. okay, here's what I love:

1. That you're doing this series of blogs. AWESOME. What a great idea!

2. Seeing your art. Duh.

3. Seeing a kind of art I haven't seen much of from you! This stuff is really cool and looks great!

4. That the Old Girl is in a blog. Fantastic.

Yay! Love you sissy! I'll keep me fingers crossed for you that this is the last week! xxoo