Many artists travel far to seek inspiration for their works. Whether they are searching for a change of scenery to inspire a landscape or ambiance to resonate the depths of their psyche, artists are constantly challenging themselves to push the limits of their medium.
However, one does not have to leave Southeast Texas to find a rotation of fresh subjects to portray. The Art Studio, Inc. is facilitating life drawing sessions on Monday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Led by TASI tenant Kailee Viator, the two-hour sessions provide an opportunity for both new and veteran artists to join together and work on their technique of portraying the human body.
“A lot of people at TASI have been to art school or done figure drawing in other settings before, and when you get out, there is almost a sense of loss of community with other artists,” Viator said. “Figure drawing is a really good way to get that sense of community, bringing everyone together for that specific goal, and maintain one’s hand at drawing.
“Even people who have never taken formal art classes are invited to come together in one room and constructively critique each other and offer tips based on their own creative experiences.”
TASI tenant David Granitz, who works with an oil-transfer technique and produces quick, scratching noises when he draws, continues his exploration of the human form while developing his own style.
“For me, life drawing is all about practice as well as interest in the figure,” Granitz said. “The figure is one of those natural forms that I am interested in primarily as an artist nowadays. Drawing is the foundation of my art form — the more opportunities I have to practice, the more progress I see in my work.”
Every week, TASI brings in a new model. The session opens with a quick warm-up; a series of 10 one-minute poses to get the hand moving and stimulate hand-eye coordination, Viator said. After the introductory poses, the model transitions into longer poses, allowing artists to practice focusing on a perspective, such as the entire subject, or a detail, like a foot.
Drawing a live nude subject provides both challenges and advantages for an artist.
“If the artists gets too bogged down with the stillness of the subject who all of a sudden moves, they have to come up with a way to respond to the change in the model with the drawing — which is what makes the drawing alive,” Viator said. “For the drawing to come to life, there must be a semblance of a soul somewhere.”
Models rotate every week and offer participants a variety of subjects and angles.
“Variety is very important, because when one is drawing the figure, you need to be able to expand your horizons as far as body type or drawing because everyone is made up so differently,” Viator said. “When a new model is put before an artist, it is a new a challenge — it keeps you on your toes.”
Model Tack Somers said that rather than feeling vulnerable, modeling nude for others is empowering.
“Life modeling was something I was always interested in because it seems so taboo, but there are a lot of misconceptions about it,” he said. “(The Studio) is a very comfortable space — people aren’t there to gawk and stare and judge. Rather, they are there to create art.
“I always feel much better about myself after modeling because I am able to see myself through the eyes and hands of other people. It is not only someone else’s perspective, but also their artistic expression — it’s not just truth, but beautiful truth.”
Sessions are $5 and will run through the first week of December before taking a hiatus for the holidays. Sessions will resume in mid-January.
For more information, join the Art Studio Life Drawing group on Facebook or visit www.artstudio.org.
By Caitlin Duerler, ISSUE staff writer