This is the last drawing at last night's open drawing session at the Palette and Chisel. I did it on 18 x 24 inch Strathmore paper using vine charcoal, with a few touch-ups inProcreate on my Ipad.
And here are some quotes from “The Complete Guide to Life Drawing,” the only complete English version of one of Gottfried Bammes's life drawing and anatomy books (keep in mind this is German translated into English) that sum up my view of the practice of drawing the figure:
First, on the value of life drawing:
“With life drawing, we experience both ourselves and otherness. To enter this state awakens us to visual, emotional, physical, mental and social involvement…The following points can be made about drawing:
Drawing is work that requires planning.
Drawing emphasizes strong impressions and leaves out weak ones. It makes movement conscious and filters, purifies and rescues by creating order in the face of many overwhelming impressions.
When we are drawing the naked human form we observe its physical qualities but we also engage on a deeper level as the subject's true self shines through. This aspect strives to make itself known even in the simplest gestures…
We ourselves will change as we draw the human figure. The more often we do so, the more lasting the change. As our visual experience grows, so does our sensitivity, even when we are drawing an initial, exploratory exercise…
…the preparatory work proposed [in the book] is closely linked to the need to think visually on many levels and is intended to allow the reader to penetrate observable phenomena, expressing…the essence of the subject.
There are two important factors involved here: an understanding of anatomy, and the development of visual perception. This is also the reason why the serious student cannot deal with figure drawing “in passing,” but must effectively treat it as a duty. You must do this as an endlessly repeated excercise, and you will find that in keeping it constantly before the eyes, this perpetual visual experience leaves its traces behind and becomes entrenched as an inner, mental model. It is only in this way that the artist gradually builds up a feeling for organic forms.
Second, on the value of the study of anatomy and life drawing in the practice of art:
Since the start of the twentieth century, modern art theorists have accused the ancient world, the Renaissance and academies of putting rules and art theory before the practice of art…
Rules and laws tend to result in a physicality that is striking in its finality, as opposed to the infinite, open-ended nature of creative approaches. As regards the artistic study of the body, this means that linear and finite interpretation—which achieved its greatest perfection with Michelangelo—has to be balanced by more nebulous qualities—the sfumato of Leonardo da Vinci's or Rembrandt's painterly portraits and nudes, with their opennes and permeability in indefinite space. [However] since the aim of this book is to teach the fundamentals of figure drawing, we must limit ourselves to the comprehensible simplicity of the physical founded on rules and laws.
[In the end] drawing people as a form of self-awareness does not demand that you create art. Our objective here is skill in the artistic rendering of the body, which does not assume any ideal artistic form.