I didn’t exactly make the most auspicious start – our tutor, Fabia Claris, had to show me how to put up an easel on the first day – but hey I’ve never put one up before and let’s just say it’s not as easy as it looks!! How embarrassing is that??
Anyway – the day starts with us contemplating a human skeleton.
I thought that I was pretty familiar with one, bearing in mind I did human biology (with psychology) for my degree – but no, not really. Not when you really look – each and every bone is an intricate architectural marvel. Then there’s how they fit together and then of course (this comes later) there’s how the muscles interrelate….
Fabia has been breaking the skeleton down for us into groups of bones – so for example on the first week we looked at the spinal column, and the second week, the rib cage, clavicles and scapulae. We draw individual bones and then the groups and how they fit together. It’s really only by this strict observation – to draw you need to look closely – that you really start to learn and understand.
And did I mention that you only get 10 minutes for each sketch!!
The good news is that after the bones comes the observation from life – bring on the model….. This is where we get to observe what happens with an actual body – how does the skeleton appear with flesh and bones attached? What are the visual clues for what is beneath and crucially; how can we use our new found knowledge to help us with our understanding and therefore how we represent the figure, whether sketching, painting or ultimately for me, sculpting?
My drawing isn’t great but the point is that it’s about the observation, even if I can’t exactly get down on paper what I am seeing. I strongly believe that this course will help with my sculpture – most obviously for the figurative, but even when doing more loose or abstracted work; it should be all the more powerful for being anatomically routed.
Watch this space to find out if I am right!