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Life Drawing @ James Makin Gallery

Life Drawing with Jeffrey MakinTuesday, 16 February 2010

Dear Diary,

A very dear client of mine suggested I join him for life drawing classes, and even offered to pay the tuition fees. How could I refuse? As the result, I have been spending most delightful Tuesday evenings drawing from the nude at the James Makin Gallery, under the watchful eye of Jeff Makin. We were all given a sketch book and a copy of Makin’s book of drawings at the first lesson; and are provided with large drawings sheets, charcoal pencils, and easels at each session. The first part of the evening consists of making four quick studies of the model, who changes her pose every twenty minutes. In the second part of the evening, the model retaines her pose for nearly an hour (with quick stretch breaks in-between), while we draw on a large piece of paper attached to an easel.

Life Drawing with Jeffrey MakinOf nearly dozen or so people that gather at the gallery on Tuesday nights, only a few are professional artists, such as Pam Hallandal, who has recently won the 2009 Dobell Prize for Drawing, and Nikai van Garderen, who exhibits at the Green-Wood Gallery. The others include professionals from all walks of life – architects, dentists, publishers, restorers, interior designers, and yours truly, all with various degrees of drawing abilities and artistic acumen.

It is most fascinating watching the drawings emerge on paper in a sheer variety of styles and degrees of finish. Hallandal produces powerful sketches of the nude, strongly reminiscent of the Bell school style. Van Garderen creates an abstracted interpretation of the model in quick and assured strokes of charcoal and white gouache, capturing her grace and movement in a laconic style worthy of Godfrey Miller. The architect virtually deconstructed the model in his drawing treating her as a complex-shaped edifice. The restorer drew the most delicate and life-like head and shoulders portrait of the model in the English early modern style that took our breath away.

Life Drawing with Jeffrey MakinJeff Makin reigned supreme above the group, coming up to each of us in turn with the invaluable advice, never correcting the way we drew the model, or attempting to change our own aesthetic approach to drawing, but enhancing our own unique ways of interpreting and visualisng the nude, and quoting to us examples of well-known artists – both of old and contemporary schools – whose works might serve as a further inspiration on our own unique journeys.

Although I wouldn’t dare to share the products of my creative labours at this stage, I must declare that this was one the most rewarding experiences – oh, the sheer joy of loosing yourself in tracing that one perfect line. It heightened my appreciation for figurative artists, who specialise in painting and drawing from the nude; and none are as fresh in my memory as those by Ross Watson, whose skills I was able to admire just a few weeks ago.

[© Eugene Barilo v. Reisberg 2010. This article is copyright, but the full or partial use is WELCOME with the full and proper acknowledgement.]

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Eugene Barilo v. Reisberg

February 2010
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