As part of my study leave last week, I did an extra session at the figure drawing studio, so today’s session was the third in eight days. The cumulative effect was very positive–unless it is a coincidence that last Wednesday was better than last Monday and today was better than last Wednesday. I don’t think so. I think I powered through to a better place, because today was full of “aha”s. I was working small and with a fair amount of detail, but I mostly kept the gestural quality that I like instead of going all stiff, and I know how I did it. The first “aha” was with this one. Sometime during this seven minutes, I realized that the life was in the parts that had no lines, but were just drawn in with shadows:

10 14 2013 7 min c

So I set out to draw almost nothing but the shadows, and this was the result:

10 14 2013 10 min d

AHA! Definitely getting somewhere! I did the same for this gorgeous pose:

10 14 2013 10 min e

The above is my favorite of the day. I wanted to stay with that pose for the rest of the session, but alas, it was only ten minutes.

We had a forty-minute pose, and I am happy with both the face and the body in the drawing that resulted, but d’oh! they are out of proportion to each other. It’s really hard not to go too large on a section that I do last and give lots of attention:

10 14 2013 40 min g

I needed a few more minutes on the legs, too. But I used the time to tackle the hair, something I usually ignore, and it’s not bad.

Here are the first two of the day. Not bad, but pre-breakthrough. The fabric on the first one works pretty well even though (because?) I gave it only the most cursory attention.

10 14 2013 7 min a

10 14 2013 7 min b

I never note scale on these drawings, and I ought to for my own purposes down the line (I toss most of the drawings, so I only have digital versions and will never remember the original dimensions). These are on 11 x 14 paper; I went to that smaller format deliberately because the larger paper was “making it harder to capture subtleties of light, not easier.” If I can remember what I’ve done today, it may work well to go back to a larger sheet. I’m not even sure what was going on there–just that I am now at the point that I have to use little tiny pieces of charcoal in order to work in the space I’ve allotted myself, and that’s getting old. This was also the first day that I didn’t use newsprint at all, and I didn’t freeze up, so I’m going to keep on doing everything but the warmup gestures on the good paper and see where that leads.