“Warrior” 9×12, oil on paper

The summer before college, I had just discovered drawing, which to me at the time meant only portraiture. I wasn’t interested in anything but the relationships between eyes and noses, foreheads and ears.

I took art my first year of undergraduate school and loved it so much I kept taking it. After completing Drawing I,  I promptly signed up for Drawing II not knowing it was a standard figure drawing course. Nineteen, shy, and admittedly a little prudish, I was mortified when I learned the models would be (gasp!) nude.

My exceedingly wise professor treated my fear with kindness and convinced me to give it a shot. After a few classes, I was hooked. Humans were so much more than just the faces I had grown to love. Drawing the human body was so gratifying! How wonderfully it was formed, how majestically the parts connected, how powerful the muscles, visible even when the subject was not in motion. Representing it on paper was a way to honor it.

After that course, I took figure drawing with an art group in Mobile, Alabama, and have sought it out in all the cities I’ve lived since then.  

I’ve largely gotten away from human figures in recent years in my paintings although they are still among my favorite subjects.

When Cece accepted this 31 day challenge in the form of a daily yoga practice which she is chronicling on our group facebook page, I was impressed by her dedication and her honesty. The last two days I’ve been painting an image inspired by another 31er, so I knew I wanted to continue to draw from the group for some of my next paintings. Yoga felt the perfect way to get back into the figure studies I love but have been away from. Not having any readily available yoga models (anyone want to volunteer?) I searched google images for various yoga poses. Unsatisfied with the results– yoga gurus in perfectly complicated positions– I altered my search to “regular people doing yoga” and was much more pleased with the results. I found some suitable models.

I’m still working on better planning my paintings with sketches– I rarely even draw anymore which is kind of like saying you are a diver who doesn’t swim. The foreshortening of that arm on the left really got me! I’m not sure if this is a “perfect” warrior 2 pose, but I’m pretty sure any yoga instructor worth her salt would discourage words like perfect. I liked it because it felt powerful. The subject was taking up a lot of space.

In the background I’ve scribbled some words from Cece’s post about her practice.

I also painted this on paper– something I’ve never done before. I wanted it to feel like a sketch. But now I’m not sure what to do with it. It’s so flimsy. It needs support, a frame maybe, to make it feel complete to me. I’ve already started my next yoga figure painting for tomorrow. This is looking like a yoga paintings series. So I’m going to continue to think about how to handle the paint on paper and consider some unifying frames when they are all complete. This is something new. Your feedback is always appreciated!

sneak peak at a sketch that is the basis for tomorrow’s painting