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Same Model through Different Eyes

May 23, 2008

This week at Life Drawing Group I was way off my game. I had almost forgotten to go, I had issues with the temperature in the room, the poses, where I was sitting, with my pencil sharpener – everything! (it sounds like I’m complaining, but I actually had a lot of fun – I just couldn’t draw very well!) The model is a regular – an excellent model, but very hard to capture as she’s thin, very athletic and yet somehow soft and feminine, and sh takes incredibly athletic poses sometimes. Afterwards, I was commiserating with one of my fellow sufferers about how hard it is to get her just right when Claude Besnaisnou, a wonderful artist who comes to draw with us, came over and said we had it all backwards.”Who cares if you get it right?”, he said. “The model will be gone in a few minutes, only the drawing remains.”

I thought it would be fun to show the different work each of us creates as we all sit there in the same room, looking at the same person in the same poses. Claude very kindly sent along a jpeg of one of his drawings from a 5 minute pose on Wednesday. Frustratingly, they’re all this good, at last all the ones I’ve seen:

In contrast, here are a couple of mine. Can you feel my emotional turmoil as compared to Claude’s calm masterful approach? If I could draw any way I liked, I’d choose to draw as he does.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. May 23, 2008 3:30 pm

    oh gosh do I know that feeling! I’ve been ‘off’ for a couple of weeks now at my figure class!!! Just when I feel I should be at my peak, I feel like I’ve taken major steps backward! We each have our own style and sometimes fail to see what others see. Your approach is more painterly, even when sketching it has a fluid flow to it. These are strong renderings and very well executed. But me thinks: This turmoil and stagnation we feel at times is what makes us grow as artist. What do you think?

  2. May 23, 2008 5:34 pm

    These are really beautiful drawings, Casey. Your charcoal strokes are exquisite!

  3. May 23, 2008 5:46 pm

    PS. Ok, now I’ve read your text. I understand how you feel because I experience the same thing frequently and increasingly. Sometimes I feel and though my hand is a seismograph recording an earthquake. Through the encouragement of others (including yourself, I think) I am learning to love the results. Accepting and loving the results is one of the very first things I tell my students to learn. I, personally, prefer your drawings to the one you prefer. Your stroke is an externalization of your nervous system and soul. The more you learn to recognize, accept and love that, the better will be your sense of self.

    When I was a little girl, my mother always asked me why I couldn’t be more like the little girl down the street (better behaved, I guess). This was very confusing. If I’d had more wits about me at that age, I would have asked in response, “What’s wrong with being like me?”

  4. May 23, 2008 8:15 pm

    I love Claude’s advice. So, so true. I love how you’ve showcased both your work here. It is such a wonderful thing to see the different interpretations…what stood out to you, what stood out to him..

    I hope you can do more of this…lovely.

  5. May 24, 2008 11:49 am

    It must be great having the stimulation of someone like Claude in your life group. I love his drawing. But I bet there are people in your group who find your work inspiring and stimulating too, Casey. I know I do!

  6. May 24, 2008 2:51 pm

    I agree with Robyn. You’d certainly be great to have in my group!

  7. joan sandford-Cook permalink
    May 24, 2008 8:41 pm

    Casey – how could you criticise your own work simply because it is different from Claudes. Loved your centre piece – it has such movement and form whereas Claude’s is linear. My life drawing group all work differently and we bounce of each other’s ideas. Enjoyed your earlier life drawing post as well.

  8. caseytoussaint permalink*
    May 25, 2008 1:50 pm

    I’ve been working on getting something from everyone in the group, so I’ll be posting this sort of thing as much as I can. I think it’s fascinating how differently we see the very same model in the very same poses. My own drawings seem so obvious to me, because that’s just what I see – but when I see someone else’s, it gives me a glimpse into their world. For me, these were the very best of about 20 drawings, by the way – so when I complain about not being able to draw, really, I should show you the others (but I just can’t make myself post them!) Thank you so much for your kind words.

  9. May 26, 2008 12:49 am

    Casey, yours are BEAUTIFUL. There’s something so alive in those quick sketches…

  10. Don McNulty permalink
    May 27, 2008 7:19 pm

    As always we are our own toughest critics, your drawings are wonderful Casey, toss out that negative self talk.

  11. May 28, 2008 4:09 am

    2 different styles, 2 different mediums, all excellent! Thanks for posting those great words of wisdom about just enjoying the drawing and not caring if it looks like the model. I also agree with Don’s advice. Sometimes it’s that negative self talk that ruins the whole experience. I find that to especially be true in figure drawing sessions with people who are “better” than I am when I start making comparisons. You’re doing great work!


  1. My Life Drawing Group - Part One « rue Manuel bis

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