Drawing From Life: The Nude as Mirror and Muse
Much as the ballerina maintains and refreshes her practice at the barre, I return again and again to the figure for freshness, inspiration, and challenge. Typically working in broad strokes on paper with watercolor and charcoal or ink, in twenty minutes or less I seek to bring onto the page the ineffable personhood of the model, his or her thoughtfulness, mental state, humor and distinctiveness.
Accuracy and a conventional notion of beauty is not essentially at issue. Of course, I want my drawings to be pleasing and admired, but it’s the personal connection with the human being before me that engages me most deeply. This person poses nude before strangers, a state of vulnerability; unclothed in a society in which we hide our bodies with flattering garments and our feelings with banalities.
We are in a conversation, the model and I, with and without words. I search in the curve of a hip or the tilt of the head a key to his or her essence and a reflection of mine, producing a deep recognition of why my feet are planted on this earth.