drawing a line, playing the edge

“Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere.” GKC

Oh…I couldn’t help using that quote. The political climate is absurd these days. Are we losing our minds? Enough of that.

…back to drawing, and the classroom, where we’re developing our minds. We play with edges, but not such crazy ones. It’s a new semester, a new group of students, first assignment, and a new batch of contour studies. Today we hold our first class critique.

For the assignment, students were asked to look closely at the subject matter and draw only what they see, using inner and outer contour line. It’s a challenge. Critique goes the full 2.5 hours. Everyone has a chance to speak and share their work.  Some students are clearly more at ease with the critiquing process than others. Understandable. A few are consistently generous with their thoughtful commentary. Experience.

The classroom is really a microcosm of the macrocosm.  Learning to look closely is a skill worth developing. Learning to see clearly is a valuable asset.

Here are a few of the classes favorites.

Alexis, Corn on the Cob


Ben, Pine-cone, top view


Sergio, Pine-cone, profil


Diana, Cabbage and Bell-pepper


An eloquent beginning to a new semester.  Everyone has a bit more experience than they came in with, and hopefully everyone has a bit more confidence as well.

Now…to getting these spot lights fixed… so we can see the whole picture more clearly.

last day of drawing class




Last day of class…
Quiet, except for the Baroque music that fills the room. Students are focused… ahhhh… heaven.

Drawing 1 students complete a still life using charcoal.  They utilize everything they’ve learned thus far about looking closely and putting down what they see. I remind them to pay attention to a couple of things; the value created by the light source, and the detailing of the various materials they are drawing which includes plastic, glass, wood, clay, and rope.

Working with pen they learned to work organically. They were asked to complete one shape/object before they move on to the next.  With charcoal the students learn a different approach. They lay out the general shapes of the composition  and then come back and refine. They move a bit more freely.








Diana. General shape and its value



lights and darks defined in the central form





Advanced students work on copying a masters work. Another set of rules applies to this group.  Again they have some freedom, but they have many more restrictions. They are still looking closely though as I watch them, I guess they have to look more closely than they would have imagined. They use a variety of drawing mediums, lots of color in the case of this particular group.  It’s a challenging assignment.  Some of them look weary and some of them make the whole thing look effortless.


Charles reproducing de Vinci



Lilly reproducing Degas



McKenzie reproducing Van Gogh



Tiphanie reproducing Degas



Class comes to an end and assignments are impressive.
Drawing 1 group, progress is so evident, they know it. Energy is high.
In the advanced class the work is stunning, but they still have much work to do. Homework. It’s a given. Energy is mixed… nervousness and excitement.

Looking forward to their final critique.