Learning to draw

My work. Vine Charcoal, 3x20min sessions

Sophia working
Sophia’s work

Honestly, I don’t think I am a great teacher. I am self taught and learned through practice, observation and tenacity. I’ve been a working artist all my life and I am always learning something from looking at other art and stealing techniques that I like.

My daughter Sophia is 13 years old and she has been seriously studying drawing for 3 years. I am just here to expose her to art that she may not be aware of through books, museums and instagram sends. She asks me when she wants my help or opinion and equally ignores my opinions when she wants to. That is the way it should be. She got herself into a great School of the Arts on her own merits from her portfolio review and is receiving good training. Last summer we went through the first 20 pages of the old Andrew Loomis book “Figure Drawing-For all it’s worth” to study anatomy, proportion and the figure in space perspective. This summer we went on a x-country road trip in a vintage Airstream trailer and looked at things and drew portraits of friends along the way. Last night we attended a portrait workshop at The Art League of Jacksonville, which has a great Director and teacher I’ve known for many years, William McMahan. He is simply great with people who are learning to draw. I know that I have learned a lot just listening to him making the rounds and talking to all the students. Even though I pretend I’m not listening. I left Sophia at a different table than the one I chose to work so that she could rely on the teacher and not me and assimilate with the other students. We shared a few thoughts during the breaks, but otherwise I left her alone. Drawing is a very private pursuit, after all. It’s an inside job.

The artist is the one who draws when nobody is looking.



Last night at TAC was raining. I had not drawn the model from life in over one year. I had lost interest really. I can draw the figure competently and I have a line quality that I am satisfied with but I did not know where else to go with this except paint, yet I enjoy drawing immensely and I am color blind. Also, I am so sick of Facebook with all the bickering that I am spending more time and energy with Instagram. The outreach is further and it is full of pleasant visual surprises without all the butthurt. Recently I came across Shibari artists or Kinbaku-Bi (depending on your affiliations), which I find delightful and erotic. It reminds me of a figure flying or a body sprawled out in death as there is a beauty in that pose as well (see Luc Sante’s book “Evidence”). I think I will start drawing from this ancient JAPANESE artform as inspiration for a series of drawings.



The longest night of the year is a good night for ghosts.

The model for the Art League portrait workshop showed up in a complete Civil War era costume with a hoop dress and Hair doo. She is part of a re-enactment club here called the “Golden Teacups”. It was very inspiring, just wish I had brought some colors.