Figure Drawing at the Eliot School

Tuesday nights I teach Figure Drawing at the Eliot School in Jamaica Plain, MA. I share the class with another teacher, alternating weeks. It’s an open, drop-in class, with a different model scheduled each week. Low-key, no pressure, very congenial atmosphere. The attendees are both professional and casual artists, some who come every week, others who come as the wind blows every once in a while.

This past Tuesday there was a man visiting from France, who spoke only French, but eh, the language of drawing is universal, right? He drew on the floor, all over the floor, laying his large sheets of paper down and sitting/kneeling/squatting with hand fulls of charcoal chunks. His figures were almost ghostly, wirey, sinewy. As if there was no skin, all muscle striations. It was kind of reminiscent of Anselm Kiefer or even Leonard Baskin. In any case, I was not only keen on his drawings but also his act of drawing. Very much like my own act of carving large woodcuts, very aggressively to get the overall large figure then settling in to more refined cuts to bring out slight details.

I love these moments of teaching when students are inspirational, reminding me to push my own boundaries and not fall into a trap of complacency with my art.


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