Thursday, May 31, 2007

Drawing with Dad - Session I

charcoal on paper, 18 x 24 inches

charcoal on paper, 18 x 24 inches

My dad & I drew together today, guess who's drawing is who's?

In his retirement, my dad has begun studying for his Bachelors of Fine Arts at the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. He has just completed his first year as an undergrad. I've been telling him about the classical methods I've been learning and he asked if he could come over and draw with me to learn the method.

This statue we drew from is one of my most prized possessions, it's a 4 foot replica of the 9 foot original, the Victoire de Samothrace a.k.a. Winged Victory. The original stands at the top of a dramatic staircase in the Louvre, and I drew it on my very first trip to Paris in 1988.

I taught dad to draw a straight-lined, simplified "envelope" around the entire shape, and then refine the drawing with more and more sub-shapes, all using straight lines. After a while we put in some rough basic tones to help us see the form, but we will still spend more time on the block-in and refine the contour more before we begin detailed shading.

Dad says he's really happy with what he drew today, and I think he now shares my enthusiasm for the method. At first he kept saying "But don't you measure? How do we get the proportions? Is it all just angles?". But this method is so intuitive, the form just seem to emerge from the page as if by itself. Just keep checking the angles.

It's very exciting, and was very fun to teach what I have so recently been learning. We hope to continue the same drawing for the next few Thursdays.

My dad posing with our two drawings