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Live! Nude! Girls!

World's skinnist modelAt the urgings of my friend Vinny, I’ve been going to a weekly life-drawing class at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center (ugh, I know). It's been the kick in the butt I’ve needed to get me drawing again, but every week has also been a three-hour exercise in frustration. My hands have gotten so spastic in the ten years or so since I spent hours and hours a week drawing from a model. I curse, I grimace, I erase, and cross things out, maybe getting out one or two decent drawings if I’m lucky (and by "decent" I mean accurate anatomy and some sense of mass and space — I ain't even worrying about whether or not it's pretty). Still it's getting a little easier, and I’m sure what little confidence I once had will come back. And maybe I'll even work up the courage to flirt a little more openly with the sexy lamp designer who's been coming to class.

The models they use are generally pretty good — certainly an improvement over the parade of freaks I generally got in college (who, with a few exceptions, were an unsightly lot, even if their quirks made them interesting to draw). Today we had a wannabe fashion model who was a lot less languid than the usual art model, which was making me a little daffy, even if she was picturesque. Most models will just casually set themselves up in some pose, dynamic for short poses and comfortable and easy to hol for the long ones. The woman today was really stiff, and was worrying a lot about exactly what position to take — you could prctially see her wishing for art direction. Then she'd take some stiff pose that would slowly morph as she was forced to relax, or she'd have to shake out a numb limb and not put it back quite right. In the pose shown here, she had rotated a full 10 or 15 degrees in ten minutes, which was making awfully hard to capturte it just right. Whatever, I liek the quick poses better so I can't go back and noodle over the details and screw up whatever I got right in the first minute or two when I’m just going on instinct.

After class, I finally went to see The Royal Tenenbaums, which knocked my socks off. It was a lot like seeing Rushmore for the first time, in that it was funny in a quirky way, not always overtly hilarious, but with all these magical moments and images from a mannered, anachronistic universe that just hit me like a ton of bricks. This time, I was captivated by the odd, out-of-time New York City where the movie was set. It was definitely a bizarro New York, one that certainly doesn't exist now (even if the locations were all real) and probably never did. Still, it was the New York City of my false memories — an odd, idyllic mix of J. D. Salinger, old issues of the New Yorker, dusty hardcovers at the Strand, Woody Allen subplots, and eccentric families I’d meet going to school on the Upper East Side. Also, Luke Wilson is way hot, with that Superman jaw of his and his mild voice.

Comments (4)

1) jessie: I've had several figure drawing classes over the years, and they were unbelievably hard and frustrating. Not until about the last one did a handful of decent stuff pop out. But i always found the situation itself more interesting -- a naked person sprawled out in the middle of a classroom, nervous students sitting around them, the potential for a boner (me or the model)... I remember this one little black guy who almost passed out because he had his knees locked during his pose or something. On the Royal front, all i have to say is, "all setup, no story", which i stold from a review somewhere.... ; p (Jan 21, 2002 4:32 AM)

2) jessie: Erm, stole. (Jan 21, 2002 4:36 AM)

3) Enrique: I've had severa lfigure drawing classes in which I had to be the nude model for mostly girls. Some of the girls were very beautiful, but that didn;t really cause a conspicuous reaction from my part. The moment came when a female friend of mine asked to model for her. I thought about it because I knew there was a subtle attraction between the two of us. It was really exiting to model for her. The feeling is difficult to describe because words are not enough to explain how you feel in front of the girl you like... I wish I could do it again. (Sep 9, 2005 2:15 PM)

4) Steinmetz: That's a fairly average nude drawing that you're showing off pal. Might I suggest learning the muscle groups before going to these figure drawing classes. ..tear away modernist.. (Apr 22, 2006 3:03 AM)

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