I have dreams about finding rooms that no one ever knew were there. Sometimes they are rooms in my house, or in an old house that no one goes into. It might be the house I live in now, or it might be one of my former homes.
And then sometimes I dream about the atelier that I forgot I had. When I first got out of college I dreamed the same hidden studios so often that now it feels utterly real to me. I know that there were no secret studios in a forgotten building but I had that dream so often that it feels like a memory.
Last night I dreamed that "the art school" (no idea which one) had let me use some rooms across the hall from the regular studios. It was wonderful having a studio around artists, and a beautiful studio; I have a vague feeling that I was supposed to downplay my tenancy, because I wasn't a student or somehow a "real" artist. There were other people in the dream, but they drifted through. I wasn't making art in the dream, but there was art all around, and I knew that now I would make some art.
Well, healthcare, childcare. If I hadn't had to pay for those I wouldn't have had to develop a non-art career. Let's throw in no government support for college let alone grad school, meaning I couldn't get the advanced degree I needed to teach college, meaning I had to take jobs that didn't support artistic output.
I'm breaking my no-whiny-blogging rule here, but it's material. I have been trying for years to find a way to get back to making art and every time it's the same old song. I get going for a while and then the three other jobs I have to have to cover the health care and the kids' education get in the way. One of the people in the figures class asked me, what do you want to do with this? I don't know. I don't want to do the whole 'you-dint-go-to-AIC-so-why-am-I-talking-to-you' stuck up gallery bullshit. I don't have time, energy or ego to deal with the "art world."
I have just barely time to do the drawing, but no time to develop any kind of creative statement. I have to work the next three figure drawing sessions and all weekend. Unless I want to work at night, which was fine in my 20s when I had some moderate expectation of it being worthwhile to do so, and had the literal physical where withal to work a full time job AND spend hours making art, there is literally no time. I started a sculpture with the pear wood weeks ago, actually went out and bought the tools I need and have not had, since then, the 3 to 5 hour stretch of time that I really need to be anything other than a dabbler, a has-been, a wannabe, a fraud.
Figures sessions don't meet in the summer, at least none that I can find (if anyone ever happens to every stumble on this, let me know where there are no-instructor figures sessions). So I'd been hoping to spend a couple of days each week in my studio here drawing friends and family. I thought people would be really into it, but I couldn't get anyone to come except my daughter and just two friends (see prior post). I love drawing the nude figure, but I wanted to work on draped/clothed as well. I'll have to do better at recruiting come winter when gardening slackens off.
Anyway, here are the drawings from the first figure session of the year. It was Hipster Girl (complete with fairy tattoo); I'm not that crazy about drawing her although she has an utterly fantastic body and a gift for finding shadows in a pose.
I drew the girl and the dog; tree is adapted from a stock photo image. Commissioned by Kristen, but then she didn't use it, so I thought I'd put it up here. Her idea was that this would go on her upper arm, with the tree branches blowing across her back.
I finally got some victims in my quest for clothed/draped figures. MH and IL sat for 2 hours, bless them (IL turns out to be quite good at this, but we made M cry). Two quick poses and one long. We had no clock, so the quick poses were a count to 1000 (I think about 8 minutes), a count to 500 (about 5 minutes), and draw til you're done (maybe 80 minutes, with two longish breaks). As always, quick studies are quite nice, but the long pose is too stiff, although I do seem to have achieved a nice sense of depth.
I've always prided myself on my ability to find the architecture under the flesh. I praise my Austrian figure and anatomy teachers. I think my anatomy course was really pretty much comparable to a medical student's, right down to the cadaver dissection. I always draw the human figure from the bones out, with the final step laying the light over the body like a garment. However, it's amazing how even well- fitting clothes change the way you perceive the bones. I had more trouble finding IL's hips through his jeans than in finding the structure in M's upper body through her fleshiness-- I can see the bones through the skin, no matter how much skin there is, than through the cloth, no matter how lightly laid (and thank you M for understanding my need to explore this-- you are beautiful!)