Life Drawing is challenging but teaches me discipline as an artist. I enjoy the process of describing the lines, tones, forms, textures and proportions of the human body. One of my strongest memories of art college was of a tutor who kept advising me to go back through my drawing and erase the incorrect lines and correct them again and again! It taught me a good lesson; that there is little point in continuing a drawing or painting if the aspects that are not correct are ignored.
I begin the process of drawing by using short gestural exercises. The visual information about the human body in these artworks is gathered in a quick and instinctive way. They are a warm up exercise which help me prepare for longer more measured poses. The model can position her/himself in many different ways which challenge and inspire me as an artist. I also take note of the setting the subject is situated in and the small items that surround her/him. A chair, a bed, an electric heater are ordinary objects but they help me anchor the figure and give balance to the composition.
Life drawing aids my observational skills and stops me becoming lazy or assuming I know what a leg, arm etc. looks like. These drawing exercises teach me to study carefully and to draw in a clear and accurate way. I apply this process then to my portraits, self portraits and other figurative work. I also pass on these lessons to my own students in my art classes. The skills and techniques I have learnt from life drawing has given me a solid foundation for my work as an artist.