Sunday, June 30, 2013

Back at the Seattle Asian Art Museum, Plus the Tragic Death of the Oatmeal Sketchbook

Yesterday I went down to the Seattle Asian Art Museum for a little sketching with a friend. It's always nice to draw with a friend, both because you can see how another person approaches similar problems and also because it reduces my tendency to mutter to myself while I draw, which means I get fewer suspicious stares from museum security guards who probably all think I'm about to snap and start drawing mustaches on the thousand year-old sculptures (in fairness, there were a few that really would look better that way). Anyway, the top one is a detail in ink of a piece titled "Buddha and Two Bodhisattvas" (sorry, I didn't have the time or energy to draw the bodhisattvas, so the Buddha is all you get) from Pakistan in the 2nd-3rd century. The bottom drawing was done with charcoal pencil from a near life-size Chinese sculpture labeled as "Monk at the Moment of Enlightenment" from the 14th century.

There is a tragic end note to this expedition. My oatmeal sketch book from Utrecht finally gave up the ghost midway through the day with about eight pages left blank. The paper is fine, but a year or so bouncing around in my Dickies bag has left the spiral binding in a state where the book is now impossible to open or close without damaging the pages. I'm really fond of these sketchbooks and I went ahead and ordered another one from Utrecht, this time hardbound to avoid a repeat of the Tragic Death of the Spiral Binding. I should note that I am no way employed by Utrecht Art, but if they wanted to send me a few bucks for the endorsement I wouldn't complain.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Me vs. Leonardo da Vinci

This is the final homework assignment for my life drawing class at Seattle Central Community College with the mighty Alexander Chubotin. I would recommend Alex's classes (yes, he and I do have the same first name. This wasn't just a case of me taking art instruction from the voices in my head) to anyone who wants to learn figure drawing, although prospective students should be prepared to leave behind the "everything is wonderful" approach that too many community college art classes fall victim to. Alex was more likely to stand next to your easel and tell you in a stern voice, "This line is wrong. Please remove it immediately." It did me a lot of good to be pushed like that and I feel like my drawing really improved throughout the course. Plus he provided cookies. I haven't posted any of the drawings from class since I don't feel like I produced much that I really consider finished, but I don't think that was really the purpose of the studio time. I did enjoy the homework assignments, which consisted of copying old master drawings, anatomy guides, and photos of classical sculpture. I'm fairly pleased with how my copy of this Leonardo drawing came out, although he appears to have a kind of smirk in my version that isn't there in the original.

Life Drawing Session at Art Not Terminal Gallery

The Art Not Terminal Gallery in downtown Seattle hosts a life drawing session every Saturday that I've been going to on a semi-regular basis. They have some great models there and the work produced by some of the other attendees is truly humbling. Me, I'm just trying to come up with something that looks more human than chicken. This particular model was a lot of fun to draw, especially when she posed with the skateboard. These were all done with charcoal pencil in 20-25 minutes.