Monday, September 23, 2013


I was able to attend a live model session at the Palo Alto Art Center for the first time in a very long time.  I usually go for the entire day,  but only managed to get to the afternoon session this time.  I lucked out because both of the models were great.  This sketch of Christina was my favorite for the day.  It was a 10 minute pose, the longest of the afternoon.  They started with one minute poses, then two minutes, five minutes, 10 minutes for a few then back down the scale.  Christina is my favorite model.  She has a tiny waist and very full hips which are easy to exaggerate, plus a charming face that reminds of the woman in the painting Madame X.  She creates very graceful, interestingly poses and can hold them without shifting.  Being a good model is a true talent in itself.  The other model had a longer, leaner body but also very graceful and immobile during the pose.  She reminded me of a Renaissance painting, or perhaps straight off the canvas of an Andrew Wyeth masterpiece.  

I took only a pad of newsprint and a new drawing material, the Art Graf tailor's chalk shape  black carbon.  You can dip it in water for even richer darker marks.  I know I could get more beautiful results with better paper, but I wanted to just try it out to see how it handled.  The beauty of this drawing tool is how you can get fine lines using the edge and wide marks by turning it in your hand plus a range of values.  It didn't take long to loose the sharp edge.  I will have to experiment to see how to get that back.  

Here is one of the one minute drawings when the carbon chalk still had the sharp edge.
1 minute study

The rest of the drawings are 5 and 10 minute studies.  I didn't feel the portraits captured them very well.  It was difficult to draw small precise shapes with the carbon.
10 minute study 

10 minute study

5 minute study

5 minute study


CrimsonLeaves said...

These are all classically beautiful sketches, Myrna. I just never have been able to master drawing and it is the bane of every piece of my art work.

Sergio DS said...

What a beautiful sketches. I have to practice with time limits, it´s a good exercise.

Love them!

Lisa Graham Art said...

I love these sketches and doing them in progressively longer periods of time has got to be very challenging and fun. The one minute sketches would be especially difficult.

Liz Hill said...

Wonderful drawings Verna

Myrna Wacknov said...

Thank you,Sherry. Get a copy of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and do the exercises. You will be amazed at the improvement so quickly! I taught this because I didn't believe it. It works 100%.

Sherry Pierce Thurner said...

These are charming, Myrna. I always have mixed feelings at figure drawing. While I love the immediacy of drawing a person directly, our group favors long poses - 45 minutes or longer. I love short poses, which seem fresher to me, less labored. Your sketches capture that quality well.

Meera Rao said...

I admire your one minute sketch the most- you have captured the pose so well!!! Actually all the rest are very wonderful too :)

Myrna Wacknov said...

The longer the pose, the less interesting as it is too difficult to hold the extended twisted contortions for long periods. You can go to and practice drawing from your computer. There is a section where you can set the time for the image to change. Different from live models but great practice.

Jala Pfaff said...

Love the sketches!

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