Ceramics was a lot of fun. We dove right into the clay today, making three pinch pots in three sizes. Pinch pots, as taught by this professor, are deceptively simple: make a ball of clay, poke a hole into it, and then "pinch" the walls of the pot until they are of a uniform thickness. My three pieces were less like pots or vases, but more like exceptionally lumpy Japanese tea cups. I didn't come close to finishing them; after a time, the clay became too floppy so I had to stop and let it "stiffen" up a bit. I'll continue to shape them next Tuesday, and hopefully I"ll be able to even up the sides so that the thickness is more uniform.
I definitely need to trim my nails before the next class, though. There's nothing more frustrating than smoothing out a side of the vessel, flipping it to work the other side, and realize you've just dug your nail into the smooth bit and it must be reworked. This will be a terrible quarter for manicures.
Life drawing was really challenging. Today we dove right into to gesture drawing with a nude model standing in the middle of the room. It's amazing how quickly this naked woman became a series of forms and lines instead of living flesh. We started with one minute drawings: the model strikes a pose, and you have one minute to capture the "gesture" of the figure. The outline isn't important, and details aren't important - it's the movement and the rhythm you try to get onto the paper. We had to do twenty of these, one right after another - crazy hard! No time to erase, just keep going, going, going. I felt like my work was getting worse and worse because I got tired, but when I looked at the drawings later there was quite a bit of improvement between the first one-minute figure and the last.
Next were seven three minute sketches. With more time, I was able to flesh out the figure a little more, putting more detail in. I noticed that I tended to make the torso into a very solid block in the one minute sketches, but with more time I was able to add the subtle curves that gave the body more shape and brought the drawing closer to the model and less like anonymous figures. After a quick break - as much for the model as for us! - we did two ten minute sketches and one final twenty minute sketch. I can't remember the last time I drew so much, so furiously, but it was so much fun. I think I'm just going to love this class.
I was worried that it had been too long since my last art class, and that I wouldn't be able to hold my own with the other students in the class. This was exacerbated during the last session, when one girl asked, "Have you taken an art class before?" and I couldn't tell if her tone was meant "Have you taken a class here? I haven't seen you in my drawing classes." or "You don't know how to draw!". But after looking around at the other students' work, I feel OK. My gesture drawings aren't the best, to be sure, but a lot of the other students are still trying to "outline" what they see and this makes their figures very soft and pillowy. Mine tend to be a bit more angular, with a bit more of a skeleton beneath the flesh, so at least in terms of intellectually understanding the process I'm doing OK.