I learned to mix black – this may have changed my world

Ivana’s inspiring experience during our Summer School

Ivana was one of a few students who undertook the challenge of completing both our Painting and Drawing Masterclasses in-between Christmas and New Year (not to mention the challenge of the heat)!

She has had previous experience in painting, however it was the first time she had ever experienced life drawing. We gratefully received her feedback and detailed experience below, and hope you also find it helpful and an insight into the classes we hold here at MAC. Thank you Ivana for allowing us to share your wonderfully candid account! This is why we love what we do.

“My objective in these classes was twofold. To refine my eye and hand; to learn specific technique and refine accuracy in representation as these are areas where I am poor. Also to dive into the Flemish technique as I’m obsessed by light and form but am yet to represent them in a way I find satisfying. The class was a remarkable opportunity to do that.

I see an immense difference and again, must say I’m thrilled with the result. I think I’ve come a long way in a short time. At home, I paint something I am more often than not unhappy, sometimes to the point of wanting to go all ninja on it, beat it with nun chucks and chuck ninja stars… You’ll be pleased to know that these works remain safe from Japanese implements of combat. J

…I’m also practicing Flemish technique on some small canvasses at home (I’m intent on capturing that light, dammit!) and am happy to share those once done and if I’m happy with them.

Ivana Dash, Still Life Imprimatura
Ivana Dash, Still Life Glaze (work in progress)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My focus was on learning; the technical in these two specific areas (refine my eye and hand; to learn specific technique and refine accuracy in representation) and that goal was achieved. I am thrilled with the results.

I think it’s also important to point out that these are my first still life and portrait paintings. Ever.

Now, with my drawing skills they are significantly less progressed and in respect to the drawing class, I think I was probably on a par with the others. I spoke with Hilmi about this before signing up as it was a Masterclass, and he encouraged me to do so as refining skills in this area would only be of benefit to my painting… even if I was slow and didn’t totally rock the class.

He was right.

First time working with charcoal, first time life drawing – I Loved It!

I don’t think my drawings will be hanging anytime soon, however even I could see the progress as the days progressed. See what you think:

Day 1: Still Life Gestural  
Ivana Dash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 1: Still Life, Charcoal. Structural. Dark Base w/ shellac and Day 4 painted highlights
Ivana Dash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2: Still Life, Charcoal. Structural. Light Base.
Ivana Dash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3: Life Drawing #1. Pencil + Black Charcoal:
Ivana Dash

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4: Life Drawing #2. Pencil + Black & White Charcoal:
Ivana Dash

 

 

 

 

 

Once again, I was thrilled by the results and have become slightly obsessed with life drawing. I need to do more. Soon!

I also learned to mix black. I think this may have changed my world.

I really enjoyed Himi’s teaching style. He’s quiet and confident, firm and precise but also gentle. I think one of the most important things in a learning environment is to have the freedom, comfort and latitude to feel free to make mistakes; countered with a confidence in your lecturer that they can pull you up on these without making you feel like an arse and have the skill to pull your work back from the brink so you can move forward. That’s a tricky balance.

Hilmi did this with me many times and I am hugely grateful and inspired to continue.”

We are very appreciative of any feedback we receive and also encourage students to share their work with us so we can share it with everyone at MAC!

We have two painting courses beginning this Saturday, running for seven weeks – Painting from Still Life with Hilmi Baskurt and Painting from the Life Model with Marco Corsini. These classes are open to all skill levels and our teachers will focus on drawing fundamentals in the beginning for those of you who are new to painting. We also have students in the class who have been returning for many terms. If you are interested in joining these classes, you can find out more information and enrol here: http://melbourneartclass.com/painting-courses/

Basic proportions of the human body

At Melbourne Art Class we are offering two Life Drawing Courses in November. Tutored Life Drawing with Jesse Dayan and Painting from the Figure with Marco Corsini. We’d love to you join us in the pursuit of mastering the human figure!

It may feel like it obstructs your creativity, however learning the basic proportions of the human figure will help you produce accurate first drawings. I know I have reached a near finishing-point in a sketch only to realise that the shoulders are not wide enough, or the torso is too long. With practise, and really seeing and measuring the human form, these inaccuracies will diminish.

You can measure the below proportions of the body on yourself. Some people are surprised when they find out that the bottom of their nose lines up with their ear, or that they are eight heads tall. We’ve listed these proportions below as a basic guide to the human body (an average adult):

An adult’s head:

When you draw the oval of your head, divide it vertically and horizontally. Front on, you can fit five eyes along the horizontal line (not including the ears); draw your two eyes in the middle with one left in between.  The pupils will be on this line.

The bottom of the nose is about one and a half eye widths down from the eye line.face proportions

One eye width beneath the nose are the lips.

The ears start from the top of the eye and finish at the top of the mouth.

An adult’s body:

A “perfect” adult’s body (developed during the Renaissance) measures eight heads high. It helps if you draw the head and then number another seven heads beneath it (see diagram below).

Draw the pelvis between spaces three and four as a flattened circle. This is important because it is the body’s centre of gravity and stability. You can then draw the line of the spine from the head to the top of the pelvis.

human figureThe thighs will fill the space between four and six, and the calves between seven and eight.

The torso begins halfway between one and two and touches the pelvis.

The shoulders are three head widths on the top of the torso line.

Draw a line down from the top of the shoulders to the fourth head. These are the arms. Elbow joints sit at space number three, wrists at four and your hands take up the space to five.

Practicing life drawing

These basic proportions will aid you to see the human body in sections and will help you produce a more accurate drawing.

It is important to practice as much as you can and get exposure to different human forms if you want to master drawing the figure.

Six ways that Life Drawing improves you

1. Life drawing helps improve your fundamental drawing skills

Drawing the figure demands a lot of an artist as the anatomical and structural complexity of the figure is difficult to master. Many artists use drawing from a model to see and describe subtle nuances of proportion, tone, texture, space and gesture.

Student Life Drawing
Student Life Drawing

2. Drawing from a model increases the fluency and economy of your drawing.

With the inevitable time limitations of a Life Drawing session and the range of expression available from a Life Model, an artist can constantly find new and more economical ways to describe the figure. The possibilities for expression available to an artist are virtually unlimited.3.

3. Drawing the body tunes you to the visual proportions, rhythms and harmonies of the body

As with drawing from nature in general, working from the body’s complex proportions, rhythms and harmonies can tune an artist in to many rich visual possibilities. This could prove useful in in other fields such as architecture, design, various forms of composition and engineering. It could even help art practice!

Student Life Drawing
Student Life Drawing

4. Drawing as a form of meditation

Drawing from a Life Model encourages you to focus your mind upon and respond to the human body and to a human being. Not only is this a great way of clearing your mind but it can invite a reality check by reminding us of our common humanity.

5. Drawing from life is better than drawing from photographs

An authentic experience in our digital era is becoming more of a rarity. Life Drawing allows you to see and capture the human body with a sensitivity and understanding that you simply cannot achieve through copying a photograph.

6. Drawing within a group encourages learning

Life Drawing classes not only bring like-minded people together, they also help artists explore a variety of ways to approach a single subject.

We do not often have the privilege of viewing individual artists’ processes, and Life Drawing classes encourage sharing and critiquing of work in a relaxed and non-judgemental environment. You will always find artists of varying skills in a Life Drawing class.

MAC’s next tutored Life Drawing Short Course with Jesse Dayan begins on October 30. Find out more information here.